Screened as part of NZIFF 2014

Sepideh - Reaching for the Stars 2013

Sepideh – Drømmen om stjernerne

Directed by Berit Madsen Framing Reality

In a provincial town in Iran, young Sepideh dreams of becoming an astronomer, although almost no one she knows thinks this a fit pursuit for a young woman. Filmed over several years, this doco traces her surprising progress.

Denmark/Iran In Farsi with English subtitles
88 minutes DCP



Stefan Frost
Henrik Underbjerg


Mohammad Reza Jahan Panah


Peter Winther


Niklas Schak
Tin Soheili


Sepideh Hooshyar
Sedigheh Hooshyar
Hadi Hooshyar
Mohammad Hooshyar
Ashar Kabiri
Anousheh Ansari


Amsterdam Documentary 2013; Sundance 2014


“In a rural village far from Tehran, the night sky glows brilliantly, unimpeded by light pollution, and a teenage girl named Sepideh dreams of becoming a renowned astronomer. Lugging a telescope as tall as herself, Sepideh spends her nights stargazing, inspired by Anousheh Ansari, the first Iranian in space. But achieving such a lofty ambition is easier said than done for an Iranian girl. Her uncle threatens something rash if Sepideh persists in her unladylike behavior, and her widowed mother warns that she cannot pay for the necessary schooling. Unphased, Sepideh composes impassioned missives to Albert Einstein and keeps her eyes on the prize. Yet when she’s passed over for a university scholarship and suitors come knocking at the door, her determination is seriously tested. The camera is everywhere we want it to be in this magical documentary – charting the strained, yet devoted, relationship between daughter and mother and capturing unexpected moments that will change Sepideh’s life forever. Shots of breathtaking constellations are windows into Sepideh’s interior world and the vast universe that enthrals her.” — Caroline Libresco, Sundance Film Festival