Winner Audience Award 2023
Seven Winters in Tehran
Some documentaries make an indelible impression. This is certainly true for this film. Using secretly recorded testimonies and letters, director Steffi Niederzoll tells the shocking story of 19-year-old architecture student Reyhaneh Jabbari. In July 2007, an older man tries to rape Reyhaneh. She stabs him in self-defence and he dies. The court sees things differently, sentencing Reyhaneh to death for murder. The victim's family of the rapist could forgive her, but only if Reyhaneh withdraws her accusation of rape. She doesn't – the verdict stands.
Iran's legal system is ruthless and uncompromising, especially when it comes to women. Not only politicians and human rights organizations worldwide tried to overturn the verdict, her family also incessantly begged the authorities for mercy. Still, some good has come out of it all; Reyhaneh has become the symbol of the opposition to women's oppression and the struggle for women's rights.