The Making of Babak Anvari’s Under The Shadow

The Making of Under The Shadow

Making of Under The Shadow

  • The making of Babak Anvari’s Under The Shadow
  • In-depth interview with Writer/Director Babak Anvari and DP Kit Fraser
  • Learn about the making of a successful low-budget first feature film

Writer and Director Babak Anvari’s first feature film Under The Shadow has enjoyed a wild ride to success…

The day before the world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Netflix snapped up the world wide streaming rights to the film, before it had ever been seen publicly.

Under the Shadow” is written and directed by first-time filmmaker Babak Anvari, who is poised to be one of the big discoveries out of Sundance… The movie, which premieres on Friday night as part of the “Midnight” section, is among this year’s most buzzed about indies at Sundance…” – Variety

The film then quickly picked up theatrical release thanks to a partnership between XYZ Films and Vertical Entertainment.

“This distribution alliance with Vertical and Netflix will ensure that Under The Shadow has a chance to be seen by the largest audience worldwide for years to come,” says XYZ’s Nate Bolotin. “Babak Anvari is a breakout filmmaking voice and it’s an honor to be a part of this chilling yet harrowing tale with its defiantly strong female performances.” –

Since Sundance the film has gone on to numerous film festivals around the world, winning the grand prize at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival and other awards.

It has also been highly reviewed by several major critics, currently enjoying a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Anvari deftly builds and sustains tension throughout, crafting a horror movie that respects genre conventions (right down to the safe/not safe ending), while firmly establishing its own distinctive identity.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

Shadow delivers the sort of sleek, swiftly paced freakout that streaming customers will gladly look past subtitles to experience.” – Justin Chang, Variety

The first great horror movie of the year… Under the Shadow smartly observes the emotions stirred up by a world defined by restrictions, and the terrifying possibility that they might be inescapable.” – Eric Kohn, Indie Wire

behind the scenes - under the shadow

The film’s triumph lies in its ability to critique Iran’s post-revolution regime for its blatant sexism, while still working as a full-throttle horror when the demons come out to play. Anvari proves himself to be a master at modulating fear: the jump scares are executed with effective precision, leading up to a magnificently intense climax.” – Nigel M Smith, The Guardian

The latest achievement for Under the Shadow is to have been selected by BAFTA as the UK’s submission for best foreign language film at next year’s Academy Awards.

Essentially the filmmakers have done exceptionally well for their first feature film, and in the following in-depth interview you can find out how they did it!

Behind the Scenes on Under The Shadow

behind the scenes babak anvari under the shadow

Fortunately for me, I’m old friends with both Babak Anvari and Director of Photography, Kit Fraser, so they were kind enough to make time to sit down and chat through how they brought Under The Shadow to the screen. Huge thanks goes to another old friend Alex Stephens for filming the whole thing for me!

under the shadow director babak anvari

In 2012 Babak’s short film Two & Two (also shot by Kit) was nominated for a BAFTA for best short film, which led to his being signed by a UK agent. Off the back of this success, Babak set out to write his first feature script for Under The Shadow, whilst still working full time as a director at MTV. Kit was the first person Babak came to with the idea and he remained closely involved through the process.

After two years of writing his script for Under The Shadow was optioned by Wigwam Films, who, unfazed by the Farsi language, set out to make the film happen. One further year of script development later and the film secured the financing it needed to jump into production stewarded by producers Lucan Toh, Emily Leo and Oliver Roskill.

In this 45 minute conversation with the filmmakers behind Under The Shadow you can learn what it took to bring the film to reality and pick up a lot of great insights on what it takes to create a first feature film on a low-budget and tight filming schedule, including working with a child non-actor and shooting exclusively on a foreign location.

Sit back and enjoy the whole interview as one chapter builds on the next or jump to specific topics with the following links:

If you can catch the film in cinemas from October 7th in the US and September 30th in the UK or enjoy it on Netflix after the theatrical release.

making of under the shadow film

For more info on Under The Shadow check out the Facebook page, Instagram feed and Twitter accounts as well as on

UPDATE – More Interviews and Videos

Babak and lead actress Narges Rashidi are interviewed in a post screening Q+A at the BFI in London.

Another post screening Q+A with Babak, Narges and director John Landis! This time at the Sundance Next Fest.

Mark Kermode loves Under The Shadow – check out his vlog above and his radio review below.

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