Sotoudeh is a human rights activists and an outspoken leader of Iran’s women’s rights movement. Last week, she cited serious health concerns in ending a six-week hunger strike in Evin Prison, where she has been serving a nearly four-decade sentence. Millions of people from around the world have called for her release.
Secretly filmed in Iran by men and women who asked that they not be identified due to the high level of risk involved, Nasrin is directed, produced, written by Jeff Kaufman and produced by Marcia S. Ross. The pair earned Emmy nominations for Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life.
The film features an original song by Tony-winning composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, performed by Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo. Washington Post columnist and former political prisoner Jason Rezaian serves as one of the film’s executive producers. Nasrin features filmmaker Jafar Panahi, Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, journalist Ann Curry, and Nasrin’s husband and fellow-activist Reza Khandan.
“With the recent news of Sotoudeh’s grave health condition, it is imperative that Nasrin gets out as soon as possible for more to learn of her situation and her mission,” Virgil CEO Joe Amodei said. “To be able to support the freedom of this incredible champion of human rights through the release of this film is a humbling experience. I am hopeful we will find a great home for the film.”
Sotoudeh has long fought for the rights of women, children, religious minorities, journalists and artists, and those facing the death penalty. Her husband, Reza Khandan, is also a human rights activist who has been arrested multiple times. They have two children.
Two years into making this film, Sotoudeh was arrested in June 2018 for representing women who publicly protested Iran’s mandatory hijab laws, and she was sentenced to 38 years in prison, plus 148 lashes. Even in prison, she has continued to challenge the authorities, launching a hunger strike to protest poor health conditions and the risk of COVID-19 in Iranian prisons. Her own health was dangerously compromised as a result.
“We started this documentary because we admired Nasrin Sotoudeh from afar,” Kaufman and Ross said. “We felt that her life and work could inform and inspire people around the world and help create a new understanding of an often-misunderstood country. We are still separated by 7,500 miles, but it has been a great privilege to be able close that gap and get to know Nasrin and her equally remarkable husband Reza. They are a disarmingly kind and interesting couple, with two children who would make any parent proud. We are continually in awe of their vision, courage, sacrifice and resilience. Nasrin always wanted this film to bring attention to other human rights activists and political prisoners in Iran and around the world. Now she herself is in prison under grueling conditions. We hope people will be as impressed and inspired by Nasrin and her story.”
Nasrin will screen at the GlobeDocs Film Festival, which will be put on virtually next month by the Boston Globe, with other screenings and events to follow. Supporters of the #FreeNasrin social media campaign have included Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden; journalist Christiane Amanpour; journalist/activist Gloria Steinem; author Margaret Atwood; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Nasrin is written, produced and directed by Kaufman, produced by Ross and edited by Asher Bingham. The music score was composed by Tyler Strickland. The film is a production of Floating World Pictures. Executive producers include Nina Ansary, Hadi Ghaemi, David and Homeira Hoffman, Nazee Moinian, Jason Rezaian, Ted Snowdon and Duffy Violante and Kristen Wolf.