In-person: filmmaker Mandana Biscotti.

Inner Self

Nahan, Iran, 2020

Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival Finalist

A violinist is barred by authorities from entering the building where she is expected to perform because she lacks the required hijab. Forced to stay in the waiting room, she’s inspired to deliver her own concert in protest.

Digital, color, in Persian with English subtitles, 16 min. Director: Mohammad Hormozi. Screenwriter: Mohammad Hormozi. With: Niloofar Mohebbi, Mehrbanoo Batebi, Maryam Jamalipour.

The Voice of Dust and Ash

U.S., 2022

In her timely directorial debut, documentarian Mandana Biscotti weaves an intimate and powerful portrait of Iranian music icon Mohammad Reza Shajarian. From his childhood reciting the Quran at political rallies at the behest of his conservative father to his first performances under a pseudonym to escape his family’s disapproval, Shajarian developed a classical singing style that made him a star. When the regime—which otherwise banned music—sought to co-opt his fame, Shajarian resisted and became the voice of a generation, his song “Morghe Sahar” becoming an anthem for Iranian liberation. Through interviews with Shajarian, archival concert footage and reenactments, Biscotti illuminates the artist’s craft alongside his principled commitment to speak for the oppressed.

DCP, color, in English and Persian with English subtitles, 84 min. Director: Mandana Biscotti. With: Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Navid Negahban.

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