Ajyal Film Festival 2022

All Films

Sepideh: Reaching for the Stars

Bader - ages 18+

للترجمة العربية اضغط على

Berit Madsen / Feature Documentary / Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Iran / 2013 / 90 min / Colour / DCP
In English, Persian / Arabic, English subtitles
Interests: Women, Coming of age, Documentary, Drama, Middle Eastern
Qatar Premiere


Sixteen-year-old Sepideh has a dream: she wants to study astronomy and become an astronaut. Her role models are Albert Einstein – to whom she writes several letters – and her heroine, astronaut Anousheh Ansari, the first Iranian in space. Stargazing gives her hope and makes her feel connected to her deceased father, but in Iran, it is inappropriate for girls to go out at night.
Shot over three years by Danish social anthropologist Berit Madsen, ‘Sepideh: Reaching for the Stars’ follows the quest of a determined young girl to fulfill her dream, and addresses the struggle of a society driven by different impulses, which are perfectly epitomised by the men around Sepideh: she bridles under the restrictions of patriarchy imposed by her uncle, but is supported and encouraged by a teacher and her fiancé.
Gently heartbreaking and hugely inspirational, Madsen's documentary is an emotional rollercoaster between hope and despair that teaches the power of persistence and the importance of dreaming big. As Sepideh says, quoting former Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh: “My pain is not the fences around the pond, but to live with fish that can’t imagine the ocean.”

About the Directors

Berit Madsen is a social anthropologist and documentary filmmaker from Denmark. She has carried out fieldwork in the Caribbean, Nepal and Niger, and has produced several documentary films as part of her ethnographic research. She has been a member of the working committee of the Nordic Anthropological Film Association since 1991, and Vice General Secretary since 2006. ‘Sepideh – Reaching for the Stars’ premiered at the 2013 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and was selected for the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014.


Berit Madsen
Berit Madsen
Production Company
Radiator Film ApS
Moving Turtle
Anousheh Ansari, Hadi Hooshyar, Mohammad Hooshyar, Sepideh Hooshyar

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