Actress Sara Zommorodi’s short film urging Sweden’s government to support women’s rights protests in Iran — which includes 43 of the country’s celebrities, directors and authors — screened at the Swedish Guldbagge Awards, the country’s highest film honors, in Stockholm Monday evening.
Titled Women Life Freedom – In Solidarity With the Brave Women of Iran, the film features some of Swedens most notable female actors, directors, authors and recording artists speaking the words “zan, zendegi, azadi,” Farsi for “women, life, freedom,” the slogan of the anti-government protests that have rocked Iran over the past several months.
Zommorodi came to Sweden from Iran when she was two and is a familiar face on Swedish film and TV, best known for roles in the Netflix drama Caliphate and the Swedish animated program Lika Men Olika.
“It’s really been amazing and so touching,” Zommorodi said about the Guldbagge screening. “I’m just 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 through. Then if you add that everybody doesn’t live in a democracy and you might be hanged or tortured for your using your voice.”
Zommorodi was working on-set in Spain when she first heard of the protests in Iran, sparked by the death in police custody of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested for allegedly failing to correctly wear her hijab, or religious headscarf. Iranian authorities have violently cracked down on the protests but the female-led movement has inspired worldwide support. Last October, several prominent French actresses, including Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, and Isabelle Huppert posted videos of them cutting their own hair in solidarity with the Iran protestors.
“The women in Iran are really showing us how important it is to collectively say no and to collectively raise our voices for a country, for a life or a world where you can live in freedom and can let your hair out, dance and kiss somebody,” said Zommorodi.
Among the actresses featured in her short film, released in conjunction with Swedish women’s magazine Femina, is Swedish star Noomi Rapace, famous as Lisbeth Salander in the Millennium trilogy and for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.
“She was touched by the diversity in the film and with all the different women involved,” Zommorodi said. “To have her participate has me feeling as if I’m on the right track.”
Other participants in the film include director Alvarez Mesen (Clara Sola), best-selling crime author Camilla Läckberg (The Ice Princess) and Swedish pop star Molly Sandén.
“Our purpose with the film was to show that different women from different ethnical backgrounds support this movement,” said Zommorodi. “It was really important as I’ve worked a lot with diversity in the film industry. So for me that was also very important to show women showing solidarity with women in Iran and that they weren’t alone.”
Zommorodi says she hopes the short film will serve as a foundation for government officials in Sweden to get involved in more direct support of the protesters in Iran.
“I’m happy and sad at the same time,” she said. “I wish that we could all do more, but art is just one way. Now we need our politicians to step forward. We need them to step forward and take actions for the people. This is why what we did was so important.”