The Female Voice of Iran

Feature documentary (2020)

already more than 500.000 views on YouTube
official Film-Website
– successfully funded on STARTNEXT 

Press-Kit / Synopsis / Cast & Crew /Supporters / Origin Story / Music credits


An anonymous woman introduces her talisman, a small golden camel called “Negar”, as the storyteller of her deepest wish: “I want my voice to be heard”. She creates an Instagram account to get in contact with female singers inside Iran. Her plan seems impossible – she seeks to organise a gathering of many female voices from all over Iran, who have been isolated until now. They are supposed to meet in a garden in Esfahan, in the very middle of this vast country. To make this vision come true, she finds the help of two travellers, who she invites to only listen – and learn more about the real stories behind all these different women.
The two travellers, one from Berlin, one from Esfahan, follow the path of Negar, starting their journey at the Persian Gulf. From there they travel to all cardinal points, the North, the South, the West and the East. Along the way they meet surprisingly strong women personalities and come to understand the different aspects of the oriental way to celebrate the love for life. Most of these female singers don’t know each other yet, but all of them are encouraged to join the dream of Negar, to come to the garden in Esfahan. But will the seemingly impossible happen? Nobody has ever done it before, many tried but failed.  Will they overtake the risk? How is their way?

Cast & Crew
Director Andreas Rochholl
Associate Producer
Zeitgenössische Oper Berlin
Yalda Yazdani, Sebastian Leitner
Sebastian Leitner
Sound Mixer
Sound Recordist
Alexander Semrow, Volker Wendisch
Lorenz Brehm, Daniel Weingarten
Sebastian Leitner, Andreas Rochholl, Christoph Wieland
Production Manager
Musical Assistant
Production Assistant
Production Companies
TV License
Yalda Yazdani
Mohammad Azmand

Lorenz Brehm, Daria Rochholl, Vida Yazdani
CrossGeneration Media & SLFILM media
EuroArts Music International
Running Time
Year of production
76 min.
Persian (Farsi) / English – with English subtitles
Yalda Yazdani
2019 – Shot on location in Iran 2015-2019
DCP 2K Flat, 5.1 Surround
Main characters  
Baran Mozafari 
Mina Deris 

Samin Ghorbani
Maliheh Moradi
Jamileh Amaniyan 
Mahya Hamedi 
Maedeh Tabatabaei

Haleh Seyfizadeh

Sahar Zibaei 
Masoomeh Gorginpour
Shadi Behyar
Zohre Gholipour
Atefeh Moghimi
Jivar Sheikholeslami
Voice of Negar 
Folk Singer from the Persian Gulf
Arabic folk singer from Abadan
Azari folk singer, Ardabil
Classical Iranian singer from Tehran
Turkmen folk singer from Gonbad-e-Kavus
Jazz singer from Teheran
Classical Iranian singer from Esfahan
Classical Iranian singer from Tehran
Kurdish folk singer from Kermanshah
97 years old clan chief, Qashqai tribe from Abadeh
Pop Singer from Mahabad
Classical Iranian singer from Tehran
Mazandarani folk singer from the Caspian Sea
Kurdish folk singer from Sanandaj
Mina Deris
Additional characters  
Hemat Agh
Ava Armanfar
Nazila Babaei
Yara Daneshvar
Reza Deris
Yousef Dibaei
Mehran Ghaedipour
Sarina Gonbadi
Gozal Gonbadi
Paricher Gorginpour
Gholamali Gorginpour
Nazi Hamzehloo
Monireh Khodabandeh
Sahar Lotfi
Behnaz Memar
Bahareh Mirzaagha
Mohamoud Moradi
Wahid Opera
Nahid Orouji
Majid Pakdel
Faroogh Rahmani
Shafagh Rahmani
Zoleikha Sardari
Roxana Sarrafi
Kavosh Sohrabian
Naser Tabatabaei
Peyman Tabatabaei
Latif Tabibifar
Musician from Gonbad-e-Kavus
Classical Iranian singer from Esfahan
15 years old girl from Qashqai tribe from Shiraz
Iranian classical Singer from Shiraz
former Loading Master oil ship from Adaban
Musician from Gonbad-e-Kavus
Musician from Bushehr
Musician from Gonbad-e-Kavus
Musician from Gonbad-e-Kavus
Daughter of Masoomeh from Abadeh
Santur-Player from Abadeh
Classical Iranian singer from Tehran
Mother od Shafagh from Zahedan
Lor folkloric singer from Tehran
Iranian Classical singer from Esfahan
Pop Singer from Tehran
Ney player from Teheran
Musician from Zahedan
Mother of Maliheh from Tehran
Musician from Bushehr
Musician from Zahedan

Daughter of Monireh from Sistan-Balochistan
Grandmother from Gonbad-e-Kavus
Iranian classical Singer from Tehran
Musician from Tehran
Father of Maedeh from Esfahan
Brother of Maedeh from Esfahan
Husband of Jamileh from Gonbad-e-Kavus
 Instagram  Facebook-Fanpage

Special Thanks
Somayeh Babaei, Bayan Darabisahneh, Ehsan Djafari, Christiane Dramé, Faravaz Farvadin, Markus Frank, Alma Gorginpour, Barbod Ghaedipour, Dena Gorginpour, Philipp Grieß, Mahan Mirarab, Elnaz Mohajerani, Hesam Naseri, Aida Nosrat, Zara Rojhellat, Mahnaz Safaei, Vahid Salehi, Daniel Salzwedel, Sasan Samadi, Mona Isabelle Schröter, Golnar Shahyar, Farid Veysi, Rahmat Yazdani, Babak Yazdani, Maryam Yadollahi

Crowdfunding Supporters
Dr. Sepideh Abhari, Zeina Azouqah, Saskia Baumgart,  Dorothea Dr. Baun, Ari Els, Mathias Forster, Ehsan Haghighat, Ulfert Hapke, Mandy M. Haupert, Simone Leona Hueber, Ipek Ipekcioglu, Mona Isabelle, David Jackson, Walter Kamm, Kimia Karajibani, Thiemo Kloss, Carlos Libedinsky, Regine López Rivas, Wolfgang Mahns, Kirsten Mense, Irmtraud Niester, Ursula Niester, Farnaz Ohadi, Susanna Poldauf, Mascha Pörzgen, Wolfgang Sachse, Gerald Schmickl, Angelika Schultz, Omid Shirazi, Eva-Maria Sommer-Burkhardt, Olivier Vocat, Andrea Wilshaus, James Wylie, Neda Yaseri, Andrea Zaumseil, Conrad Zurbuchen and 93 supporters more!

Origin story

Since 1979 solo singing in public is forbidden for women in Iran. For several years, starting in 2015, the Iranian ethnomusicologist Yalda Yazdani and the German filmmaker Andreas Rochholl have been travelling through Iran to meet and film female singers in all parts of this multi-ethnic, diverse country. During this time they created a network between those women, other musicians and their friends. They further realised a music festival twice in Berlin to present those voices. In 2019 the producer and filmmaker Sebastian Leitner joined the team to start work on a very different feature documentary.

The Female Voice of Iran – a feature documentary by Zeitgenössische Oper Berlin (2020)

Music  credits

Traditional song from Azerbaijan, a group arrangement by Carlos Libedinsky – Bandoneon, Mohammad Azmand – Guitar, Samin Ghorbani – Voice, Mehrdad Nasehi – Kamanche, Seyed Mohammad Jafar Ghaziaskar – Tonbak

Negar’s theme and variations
Kavosh Sohrabian – Ney solo

Kamanche solo
Mehran Ghaedipour

Traditional music of the South of Iran
Improvisation, Clapping hands, lullaby, Howale
Baran Mozafari – Voice, Majid Pakdel – Ney Jofti, Mehran Ghaedipour – Percussion, Kamanche, Voice, Behrouz Sharifian – Percussion

Lyrics and composition by Kavosh Sohrabian with: Samin Ghorbani – Voice, Hasan Tayanlu – Dotar, Kavosh Sohrabian – Ney, Hasan Salem – Kamanche, Hamed Habibpour – Udu/Kuzeh

Music from Turkmen region of Iran
Jamileh Amaniyan – Voice, Hemat Agh – Dotar, Yousef Dibaei – Kamanche
Sarina Gonbadi – Dotar, Gozal Gonbadi – Kamanche

Farsi Lullaby
Haleh Seyfizadeh – Voice

Kurdish folk song with Sahar Zibaei – voice, Ravi Srinivasan – Tabla, Mohamad Safa Alhafez – Oud, Kavosh Sohrabian – Ney and Hassan Salem – Kamanche

Beredak ya Khaleqi
Ghanili Shway Shway

songs by Uum Kulthum, Mina Deris – Voice

Classical Iranian music
Maliheh Moradi – Voice, Tonbak, Mohamoud Moradi – Ney, Nahid Orouji – Daf

Kurdish song
Sahar Zibaei – Voice

Farsi Lullaby
Zohre Gholipour – Voice

Qashqai Lullaby and other songs by
Masoomeh Gorginpour – Voice, Gholamali Gorginpour – Santur

Rabab solo
Faroogh Rahmani

Two women singing and listening
song by Mina Deris – Voice, Lyrics by Zeynab Mohamadavi
and an improvisation in Avaz by Maliheh Moradi – Voice, Lyrics by Rumi

Be Esfahan ro
Maedeh Tabatabaei Niya – Voice, Lyrics by Malek al-Shaara Bahar, Arrangement and Composition by Ali Akbar Shahnazi and Abdolhosein Barzandeh

Song by Shadi Behyar – Voice, Music by Kamran Mathari, Arrangement by Shamal Charkhandaz

Deng (Dazed)
Song composed and arranged by Mahya Hamedi – Voice, Piano, Lyrics by Amir Talebi, Bahar Badiei Tabar – Oud, Darius Azar – Double Bass, Ideen Shafaee – Percussions

Mazandarani Folk song, Atefeh Moghimi – Voice

Music from Balutschistan
Faroogh Rahmani – Rabab, Wahid Opera – Tabla, Dholak

Azerbaijani Lullaby, Samin Ghorbani – Voice and the “Female Voice of Iran – Ensemble, Berlin”

composed and arranged by Mahan Mirarab for the International Female Voice of Iran Ensemble, solo voice: Golnar Shahyar, lyrics by Ahmad Shamlou

On this dark star…
Words by Ingeborg Bachmann, Essay “Musik und Dichtung“, 1959, GW, Bd. 4 © Piper, München

Jaame Digar
lyrics by Molana (Rumi), composed by Ali Ghamsari with: Haleh Seyfizadeh – Voice, Ali Ghamsari – Tar, Amir Farhang Eskandari – Oud and Kamran Montazeri – Percussion


 In cooperation with CrossGen.Media