Sepideh: Reaching for the stars

Sepideh wants to become an astronaut. She spends her nights exploring the secrets of the universe, while her family will do anything to keep her on the ground.

The expectations to a young Iranian woman are very different from Sepideh’s ambitions, and her plans to go to university are in danger.
But Sepideh holds on to her dream! She takes up the fight and teams up with the world’s first female space tourist, Anousheh Ansari.

Sepideh is the perfect example of the fact that it takes courage and an enormous will power, to go head to head with a conservative and controlling society, and that one must never take freedom for granted. Her immense enthusiasm for the stars and the beauty of the universe seeps through the film, and her actions show that taking your destiny into your own hands is courageous, but it may hurt the ones who love you the most.

1st prize for Best Soundtrack Costa Rica Festival Internacional de Cine 2014

1st prize Belfast Film Festival 2014

Nominated for Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme The Gierson Trust 2014

Nominated Danish Film Institute 2014

Nominated Danish Bodil 2014

Nominated Göteborg International Film Festival 2014

Sundance Film Festival 2014

Open City Docs Fest 2014

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014

Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2014

Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival 2015

Cutting East Film Festival 2015

Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2015

Variety: “Sepideh” packages its somewhat predictable inspirational-uplift message in a leisurely, engaging form, even if there are moments that seem to be happening not just on camera, but because the camera is there.

Park Record: Madsen’s film, with its sweeping images of the heavens, offers a soaring message to young people around the world to pursue their dreams.

jbspins blogIntellectually, most viewers understand Iran is far from a progressive society, but there are scenes of unabashed misogyny in Sepideh that will drop their jaws and boil their blood. Clearly, young Hooshyar is nearly always the smartest person in the room, but her government, society, and extended family all seem determined to squander her talents.

Entertainment WeeklyDanish director Berit Madsen didn’t set out to tell a story about feminism in Iran. She just met a pretty amazing 14-year-old girl who wanted to learn about the stars, and hoped to do justice to her story.

The Big Story: Madsen said Sepideh’s story delves into “the soul of Iran,” showing the passion of its people rather than the politics that generally dominate the news.

A film by: Berit Madsen
Camera: Mohammad Reza Jahan Panah
Sound recordist: Hassan Shabankareh
Editor: Peter Winther
Producers: Stefan Frost, Henrik Underbjerg
Music: Niklas Schak, Tin Soheili
Executive Producers: Sally Jo Fifer, Carsten Holst & Steen Risom
Co-Producers: Katayoon Shahabi, Antje Boehmert, Christian Popp, Lars B. Løge, Jonas Kellagher
Commissioning Editor ZDF: Sabine Bubeck-Paaz

Length: 90/52 min
Release Date: 2013

A production of Radiator Film in co-production with DOCDAYS Productions, ZDF in collaboration with ARTE, DFI, SVT, Sundance Institute, ITVS. International Sales: LevelK