Actress Sara Zommorodi’s short film urging the Swedish government to support protests for women’s rights in Iran – which features 43 celebrities, directors and authors from the country – screened at the Swedish Guldbagge Awards, the highest film honors in the country, in Stockholm on Monday evening.
Title Women Life Freedom – In solidarity with the brave women of Iranthe film features some of Sweden’s most notable actresses, directors, authors and artists speaking the words “zan, zendegi, azadi”, Farsi for “women, life, freedom”, the slogan of the anti-government protests that rocked Iran over the past few months.
Zommorodi came to Sweden from Iran when she was two years old and is a familiar face in Swedish film and television, best known for her roles in the Netflix drama Caliphate and the Swedish animation program Similar but different.
“It was really amazing and so touching,” Zommorodi said of Guldbagge’s screening. “I’m so happy that they wanted to show the film. Being an actor and actress myself, I know how hard it is to struggle to get your idea and your voice across. Then if you add that not everyone lives in a democracy and you could be hanged or tortured for using your voice.
Zommorodi was working on set in Spain when she first heard of protests in Iran, sparked by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested for allegedly failing to wear properly her hijab, or religious headscarf. Iranian authorities have violently suppressed the protests, but the women-led movement has garnered global support. Last October, several prominent French actresses, including Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard and Isabelle Huppert, posted videos of them cutting their hair in solidarity with Iranian protesters.
“Women in Iran are really showing us how important it is to collectively say no and collectively raise our voices for a country, for a life or a world where you can live in freedom and let your hair down and dance and kiss someone. ‘one,” Zommorodi said.
Among the actresses featured in her short film, released in collaboration with Swedish women’s magazine Femina, is Swedish star Noomi Rapace, known as Lisbeth Salander in the Millennium trilogy and for Ridley Scott Prometheus.
“She was touched by the diversity of the film and all the different women involved,” Zommorodi said. “Involving her makes me feel like I’m on the right track.”
Other participants in the film include director Alvarez Mesen (Clara alone), best-selling detective novelist Camilla Läckberg (The Ice Princess) and Swedish pop star Molly Sandén.
“Our goal with the film was to show that different women from different ethnic backgrounds support this movement,” Zommorodi said. “It was really important because I’ve worked a lot with diversity in the film industry. So for me, it was also very important to show women that they stand in solidarity with women in Iran and that they don’t were not alone.
Zommorodi says she hopes the short film will serve as a basis for Swedish government officials to get involved in more direct support for protesters in Iran.
“I’m happy and sad at the same time,” she said. “I wish we could all do more, but art is only a means. Now we need our politicians to step forward. We need them to step forward and act for the people. That’s why what we did was so important.