A film by Ali Samadi Ahadi
Technical Specs: Runtime: 80 minutes, HD, 1:1.85
Languages: International version in English and Farsi (English subtitles);
German version in German, English and Farsi (German subtitles)
DREAMER JOINT VENTURE Filmproduktion
In co-production with Wizard UG, WDR and WDR/ Arte
Supported by Filmstiftung NRW, MFG Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg, Nordmedia,
The Green Wave will be screened at Around
the World in 14 Films festival in Berlin
CAST & CREW
Written & Directed by Ali Samadi
Starring Pegah Ferydoni, Navid Akhavan and many more
Director of Photography Peter Jeschke, Ali Samadi Ahadi
Art Director Ali Soozandeh
Drawings Ali Reza Darvish
Motion Directors Prof. Dr. Sina Mostafawy & Ali Soozandeh
Editors Barbara Toennieshen & Andreas Menn
Music by Ali N. Askin
Based on an Idea of Ali Samadi Ahadi & Oliver Stoltz
Associate Producers Roshanak Khodabakhsh & Thomas Saignes
Commissioning Editors Dr. Sabine Rollberg (WDR/ Arte), Sabine Bohland &
Mathias Werth (WDR
Producers Jan Krueger & Oliver Stoltz
Green is the color of hope. Green is the color of Islam. And
Green was the symbol of recognition among the supporters of presidential
candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who became the symbolic figure of the Green
Revolution in Iran last year. The presidential elections on June 12th, 2009 were
supposed to bring about a change, but contrary to all expectations the
ultra-conservative populist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was confirmed in office. As
clear as was the result, as loud and justified were the accusations of
vote-rigging. The on-going Where is my vote? protest demonstrations were again
and again worn down and broken up with brutal attacks by government militia.
Images taken from private persons with their cell phones or cameras bear witness
to this excessive violence: people were beaten, stabbed, shot dead, arrested,
kidnapped, some of them disappearing without trace. What remains is the
countless number of dead or injured people and victims of torture, and another
deep wound in the hearts of the Iranians.
THE GREEN WAVE is a touching documentary-collage illustrating
the dramatic events and telling about the feelings of the people behind this
revolution. Facebook reports, Twitter messages and videos posted in the internet
were included in the film composition, and hundreds of real blog entries served
as reference for the experiences and thoughts of two young students, whose story
is running through the film as the main thread. The film describes their initial
hope and curiosity, their desperate fear, and the courage to yet continue to
fight. These fictional 'storylines' have been animated as a motion comic - sort
of a moving comic - framing the deeply affecting pictures of the revolution and
the interviews with prominent human rights campaigners and exiled Iranians. Ali
Samadi Ahadi's documentary is a highly contemporary chronicle of the Green
Revolution and a memorial for all of those who believed in more freedom and lost
their lives for it.
Following the award-winning documentary LOST CHILDREN that he did together
with Oliver Stoltz (among others the German Film Award) and his affectionate
comedy SALAMI ALEIKUM - in his film THE GREEN WAVE Ali Samadi Ahadi reflects the
dramatic events before and after the presidential elections 2009 in Iran. Like
an eager sigh, like an unstoppable wave, the desire for more freedom began to
spread out in Iran last summer. The color Green of the supporters of
presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi became the ever-present symbol of a
potential change. But on election day the peaceful revolution failed and the
regime under Ahmadinejad took action against the oppositionists, activists and
demonstrators with a brutality almost too difficult to imagine.
Framed by animated 'scenes' which from the perspective of two young students
convey a sense of the events, the film shows the real pictures of the
revolution, taken with cameras or cell phones: election meetings,
demonstrations, unrest and finally the attacks of the militia with batons and
knives. Ahadi's film produced by Oliver Stoltz and Jan Krueger (both of Dreamer
Joint Venture Filmproduktion) is a courageous and encouraging collage composed
of blog quotes, real video recordings, illustrative interviews with prominent
exiled Iranians and human rights activists, and of a motion comic narrative
thread - resulting in a stirring plea, an appeal for awareness and actions, and
a shaking up, shocking and touching chronicle of the Green Revolution in Iran.
"For a few weeks we had the feeling of being so close to our goal as never
before ..." - blog entry.
The Green Revolution in Iran owes its name to the color that became the
symbol of recognition among the supporters of presidential candidate Mir-Hossein
Mousavi. Being the color of Islam and the color of hope, and being one of the
Iranian national colors this Green unfolded an unforeseen signal effect and
symbolic power going far beyond the mere commitment to Mousavi. It was not just
about election campaigning, not even about dissatisfaction with the regime under
Ahmadinejad, but about a new collective spirit and the confidence that there
could be another way for Iran, a way that is not characterized by reprisals,
oppressions and despotism. This Green was the signal to set out, the symbol of
courage and of the chance for a change that had been considered improbable for a
In the streets of Tehran and other big cities, the euphoria was evident:
cloths, bracelets, scarfs, nail polish, almost anything was appropriate as a
green greeting, as an attribute of peaceful unity and as a gesture of rebellion.
Though news coverage from Iran was almost impossible, the Green Movement
could also be sensed abroad, where usually nothing but Ahmadinejad's
provocations were received. Twitter and Facebook messages, YouTube videos and
especially numerous blogs reflected an unforeseen euphoric mood. The Iranian
blogger scene, which is considered to be one of the largest in the world, came
up in the years 1999 to 2003 at the height of the reform movement of those days.
Since 2005 this internet forum has had to struggle with more strict controls by
the regime und has been curtailed as much as possible. Any blogger making
critical comments has to live with the risk of prosecution by the government. In
the months before the presidential elections in 2009 this scene started to
flourish again and the internet has become an important vital lifeline for the
Over a thousand different entries in Iranian blogs have been the inspiration
for the two 'fictional' students - their thoughts being the emotional thread
running through the real events: how they perceive the awakening of the Green
Movement, how they wake up from a frustrating hopelessness and feel that there
is after all a chance to shape the future, how they become desperate with fear
beginning to grow again, and how they despite all that do not give up hope.
The stories of the students Azadeh and Kaveh are animated as a motion comic,
and rich in contrast going along with the real video images of the revolt and
with the interviews with prominent Iranian personalities and human rights
activists like Dr. Shirin Ebadi (Noble Peace Prize winner), the Shiite cleric
Dr. Mohsen Kadivar (one of the most important critics of the Islamic Republic),
the young journalist Mitra Khalatbari, Dr. Payam Akhavan (former UN war crimes
prosecutor and a specialist in human rights), or with Mehdi Mohseni (blogger and
election assistant to Mir-Hossein Mousavi).
The hopes of the Green Movement for a victory of Mousavi and for reforms were
bitterly dashed on the election day and the accusations of vote-rigging still
called people into the streets. But ever since the supreme clerical leader of
Iran, Khamenei, declared the election result official and uttered an explicit
threat to the protesters, the measures against the peaceful resistance became
more and more brutal. The images of Neda killed by a shot in the chest during a
demonstration shortly afterwards went around the world. Countless videos taken
with cameras or cell phones and put on the internet give evidence for the
excessive brutality that the government militia used against the demonstrators:
militias driving on motorbikes into the crowd of people, beating them with
knives and batons, or treading on casualties lying defenselessly on the ground.
The regime systematically took action against the ongoing protests, against
oppositionists and - like in a frenzy of violence - also against innocent
bystanders. Raids at night, arrests on a large scale, never-ending
interrogations, raping, abductions, torture - any desire for freedom, any
thought of rebellion should be suppressed with inhuman cruelty. Up to this day
the pressure of the regime continues, but although the Green Revolution has been
subjugated with every available means, the desire of the people for more freedom
and dignity is unbroken - just as is their willingness to fight for it.
DIRECTOR ALI SAMADI AHADI ABOUT HIS FILM
It was June 12th, 2009. After having worked very hard for two years all of us
were very much looking forward to the premiere of our comedy SALAMI ALEIKUM.
From all over Germany our colleagues gathered together for the International
Film Festival in Emden where the film would be shown to the public for the first
time. On the very same day my wife and I went to Bonn to submit our voting slip
for the presidential elections in Iran. I always felt both, as an Iranian and as
a German. So did my wife. We met in the no man's land of cultures and tried to
bring together in our lives the positive aspects of both of the two worlds.
Ali Samadi Ahadi
On the very same evening of June 12th it suddenly became clear that one of
those worlds was in flames. Despite SALAMI ALEIKUM being a great success in
Emden, our team did not at all feel like celebrating. We felt kind of petrified.
Paralyzed. And this feeling of helplessness was to remain for weeks. Iran was in
flames and we could not do anything. Day by day we were sitting in front of the
television for hours, being on the phone with each other, one in Vienna, the
others in Berlin and Cologne. Silent. We were not in the mood for talking, but
then again did not want to be alone during these hours. We moved together - if
only on the phone.
It really took me weeks to get out of this dizziness and to take the decision
to do what I can do best: a film about the events in Iran in the summer of 2009.
But very soon it became clear that we had to find a special narrative style
for this, because for the events behind us there existed only fragmentary
poor-quality pictures taken with cell phones or images from archives covering
the situation only in part. A reenactment was out of question for me, especially
since it was clear to me that as long as the regime in Iran was in power I could
no longer visit Iran.
Iran is a nation of bloggers. Thousands of young people write down their
feelings, write down what is on their minds in their blogs. If it was no longer
possible for me to shoot my film in Iran, to interview the people there, these
blogs were exactly the right source to reach the inner voices of the people.
For a long time Ali Soozandeh and I have been searching for an adequate
visual language, when we came across the so-called motion comic to tell about
these blogs. I chose 15 blogs from 1,500 websites which we then translated into
images. We attracted a range of actors like Pegah Ferydoni, Navid Akhavan,
Jasmin Tabatabai and Caroline Schreiber. With them we re-enacted the scenes and
Alireza Darvish, a wonderful artist, accepted to do the drawings of the
characters, and Sina Mostafawy and his team began with the animation of the
scenes. Finally, from the archive material, the recently shot interviews, the
pictures from cell phones and the animations, Barbara Toennieshen and Andreas
Menn composed this collage.
The whole production took 10 months. Within these 10 months the concept, the
financing, 42 minutes of animations, the editing as well as the sound design,
the music and the compositing came off.
The time pressure was immense and could only be put up with, because
everybody plunged into the project and worked day and night.
And at the same time one thing was clear for the team of Iranian descent:
because of their participation in this project they will never be able to visit
Iran again. But as has Saadi so nicely said,