Sepideh

Reaching for the Stars

Sixteen-year-old Sepideh wants to become an astronaut. She spends the cold nights in provincial Iran exploring the secrets of the universe through her telescope; her family, meanwhile, will do anything to keep her on the ground. The expectations placed upon young Iranian women are very different from Sepideh’s ambitions, and her plans to study astronomy in Tehran face great opposition. But Sepideh’s resolve knows no bounds.

She takes up the fight and teams up with the world’s first female space tourist, Anousheh Ansari. Sepideh’s challenges are multiple – her immense enthusiasm for the complexities of the universe is accompanied by a desire to break free of a conservative and controlling society. Her strength of will and uncompromising approach to resistance mirror the fundamental conflicts of many young people in Iran. But her actions show that whilst taking charge of your destiny is courageous, it may hurt those 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 for ZDF: Sabine Bubeck-Paaz

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

Length: 90/52 min
Release Date: 2013

Sixteen-year-old Sepideh wants to become an astronaut. She spends the cold nights in provincial Iran exploring the secrets of the universe through her telescope; her family, meanwhile, will do anything to keep her on the ground. The expectations placed upon young Iranian women are very different from Sepideh’s ambitions, and her plans to study astronomy in Tehran face great opposition. But Sepideh’s resolve knows no bounds.

She takes up the fight and teams up with the world’s first female space tourist, Anousheh Ansari. Sepideh’s challenges are multiple – her immense enthusiasm for the complexities of the universe is accompanied by a desire to break free of a conservative and controlling society. Her strength of will and uncompromising approach to resistance mirror the fundamental conflicts of many young people in Iran. But her actions show that whilst taking charge of your destiny is courageous, it may hurt those who love you the most.

 

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 for ZDF: Sabine Bubeck-Paaz

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

Length: 90/52 min
Release Date: 2013