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Special Project

Special Project
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

Forbidden To See Us Scream in Tehran

Finalist in Remote Production


"Forbidden to See Us Scream in Tehran" is a short drama that follows Shima, the lead singer of a death metal band in Tehran. Due to Iran’s strict laws, Shima and her bandmates are in constant fear of being arrested. Shima risks everything as she plots to call the cops on her own underground concert in the hopes that the raid will help her secure her asylum in another country.

This film was directed remotely through Whatsapp because Farbod Ardebilim, the director, was not allowed to leave the United States to travel back to his home country of Iran for filming.

The film powerfully blends themes of freedom, family, and sacrifice with gritty aesthetics to leave viewers from all cultures pondering universal questions regarding what it means to follow one's dreams.

Strategy and Execution

Director Farbod Ardebeili directed the film through Whatsapp due to his inability to leave the United States to return home to Iran, where filming took place. Because of his visa status, Farbod could not risk traveling back to Iran and not being allowed back to the United States. The production was done in Farbod’s home of Iran and offered a real, raw setting for the film. 

The largest challenge was the vast physical distance between Farbod and the cast and crew. The film’s technical soundness is perhaps the largest feat of production, given that communication on highly technical matters was done remotely.


Iron Light Labs was able to provide funding for film festival submissions as well as the film’s PR campaign, which ultimately culminated in “Forbidden to See Us Scream in Tehran” being eligible to be considered for a 2022 Academy Award in the Live Action Short Film category. It has been accepted into a multitude of film festivals, including 5 Oscar-qualifying festivals. 

Read more and watch a short video from the BBC on the film’s powerful storytelling.


Video for Forbidden To See Us Scream in Tehran

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Iron Light Labs

Entry Credits