• Starless Dreams




Starless Dreams plunges us into the lives of young teenage girls sharing temporary quarters at a juvenile detention center on the outskirts of Tehran. Director Mehrdad Oskouei, one of Iran's most prominent filmmakers, spent seven years securing access to this all-female facility. As the New Year approaches, the girls bond, and reveal—with playfully disarming honesty—the circumstances and acts that resulted in their incarceration. They have killed their father, robbed a bank, or were arrested for carrying 651 grams of cocaine. Outside the prison walls, danger is everywhere, even within their own families.

With startling frankness and “the conceptual rigor and emotional directness associated with the best of Iranian cinema” (Variety), Starless Dreams delivers an unforgettable portrayal of innocence lost and found.


★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "Brilliant."
– Alan Evans, The Guardian

"[A] heartbreaking work."
– Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"Critic's Pick! The world needs to see this spare, revelatory film." — Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

"An extraordinary film. Starless Dreams captures a rare, sorrowful, infinitely complex milieu."
– Michelle Orange, Village Voice

"Poignant and authentic."
Vox Magazine

"Roger Ebert once called the movies 'a machine that generates empathy,' and Starless Dreams ... is just such a machine. With the conceptual rigor and emotional directness associated with the best of Iranian cinema Oskouei simply listens to the stories of those who have never been listened to before."
– Scott Tobias, Variety

"Mehrdad Oskouei's reputation as one of Iran’s finest documentary filmmakers grows film by film. Starless Dreams is the perfect example of how powerful simplicity can be, when it's underpinned by compassion for its subject."
– Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

"One of the best Iranian social documentaries of the past years."


February 2016
Berlin International Film Festival - Berlin, Germany

March 2016
True/False Film Festival - Columbia, MO

April 2016
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival - Durham, SC

May 2016
Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival - Toronto, Canada

June 2016
Human Rights Watch Festival - New York, NY

September 2016
Sept 10: True Orleans Film Festival - New Orleans, LA
Sept 16: Camden International Film Festival - Camden, ME

October 2016
Oct 5: Human Rights Watch Canada - Toronto, ON
Oct 10: Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival - Hot Springs, AR
Oct 10 & 15: Pickford Film Center - Bellingham, WA
Oct 13 & 16: BFI London Film Festival - London, England
Oct 14: Chicago International Film Festival - Chicago, IL
Oct 15: Antenna Documentary Film Festival - Sydney, Australia
Oct 20: Basilica Hudson - Hudson, NY

November 2016
Nov 5 & 6: Sarasota FS | Cine-World Film Festival - Sarasota, FL
Nov 17 & 20: Montreal Int'l Documentary Festival - Montreal, QC
Nov 27: The Public Cinema - Knoxville, TN

January 2017
Jan 20 - Feb 5: Museum of the Moving Image - New York, NY
*Cameraperson director Kirsten Johnson to introduce the 6:30pm screening on Saturday, Jan 28
Jan 26 & 28: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Boston, MA
Jan 27 & 29: The Ryder - Bloomington, IN

February 2017
Feb 10: University of Wisconsin Cinematheque - Madison, WI
Feb 17-23: Facets - Chicago, IL

March 2017
Mar 16: Cleveland Cinematheque - Cleveland, OH

April 2017
Apr 14-21: Colorado State University | ACT Human Rights Film Festival - Fort Collins, CO
Apr 28&30: Sonoma Film Institute - Rohnert Park, CA


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