Back Vocal

Director: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb

Documentary | 40 Mins


24 years after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the legal prohibition against female solo singing in Iran, rumors about females being permitted to sing as duets has encouraged female singers to take initiatives for recording and release of their musical albums.


Researcher, Writer & Director: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb / Editor & Director’s Advisor: Ebrahim Mokhtari / Camera: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Mohsen Nazari / Sound Recordist: Farokh Fadaei / Sound Designer: Reza Moghaddas / Production Manager: Mohammad Reza Safiri / Associate Producer: Siamak Poursharif

With: Kiana Kiaras, Darya Dadvar, Mamak Khadem, Pari Maleki, Mahsa Vahdat, Marjan Vahdat, Sara Naeeni, Afrooz Ansari, Mahan Ebrahimi, Babak Amini, Ramin Behna, Babak Chamanara &…

Producer: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb


Technical Info

  • Sedaye Dovom
  • 40 min., English Subtitle, PAL, DV Cam., Color, Iran, 2004
  • Persian
  • 4:3
  • Stereo
  • Blu-Ray / DVD / H.264 File


  • 38th Jean Rouch International Film Festival, Paris, France, 25-28 November 2019

  • 7th Annual Festival Cinema Invisible, USA, New York, 18-19 October 2019

Special Screening

  • Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (CPH: DOX), Denmark, November 2009
  • 1st Iranian Documentary Festival, Taiwan - Hong Kong, November 2009
  • Documentary Film Week “Cinema-Music”, Sweden, February 2009
  • “Visual Anthropology Representations of Iran” Conference, University of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, 13-16 June 2008
  • Week-end de films documentaires iraniens, "Diversité en Iran", Paris, France, 26-29 octobre 2007
  • 17th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema at UCLA Film & Television Archive, L.A. USA, April 7 - May 11, 2007
  • Iranian Films Week, Uppsala, Sweden, March 2006
  • 6th Iranian Film Week and Conference, London, UK, 3-5 August 2006
  • 19th SINGAPORE International Film Festival, 2005
  • 2nd ALJAZEERA International Television Production Festival, Doha, Qatar, 2005
  • 10th PUSAN International Film Festival, South Korea, 2005

Director's Note

Three years of roaming among musicians of Tehran resulted in 4000 minutes of footage; the outcome of 14 months of editing were two films centered on the theme of "restrictions on music in Iran."

- Back Vocal tells the story of women singers, whose unaccompanied singing is forbidden by religious laws of the country, but who nonetheless try to remain active; even if that means taking the second seat. I knew from the beginning that such a film would not get permission to be screened, so I never applied for a permit.

- Off Beat is about young music lover—influenced by musical trends in the world, some of which are deemed harmful by officials in Iran—who have no place in the formal Iranian music scene and who play music in the quiet of their homes. Once I started editing Off Beat I realized that it may not get permission for screening. I nonetheless applied… but it was in vain.

It is only through the screening of a work that a director may call it final; even if that director has to go out of his/her way to do it, and that at great expense.

May 2005