Directed by Till Schauder
FEATURE DOCUMENTARY 88 Minutes World Premiere
“My songs didn’t make me famous. The fatwa did.” When God Sleeps unfolds against the backdrop of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks in the Bataclan concert venue and European right-wing backlash against Middle-Eastern refugees. It deftly weaves the journey of exiled Iranian musician Shahin Najafi with historical context and intimate biographical detail, rooting the narrative in Najafi’s immediate and unavoidable reality, living under a fatwa issued against him by hardline Shiite clerics. As Najafi juggles a personal life and budding romance in Cologne, far from loved ones, with a professional career whose high profile may cost him his life, he spars with bandmates who are ambivalent about the peril his status places on their lives, and battles German police who refuse to see the death threat on his head as a legitimate danger. With camerawork that underlines the intimate aspect of this film, we bear witness to the life of an outspoken artist defying powerful men intent on silencing him.

—Cara Cusumano
Documentary, Music, TFF Alumni
About the Director(s)
Till Schauder is a German filmmaker based in Brooklyn. He made his U.S. debut with the feature Santa Smokes which won Best Director at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Studio Hamburg Newcomer Award. His first documentary, The Iran Job, was released worldwide and shortlisted for the German equivalent of the Academy Awards in 2013.

Film Info
  • Section:
    Documentary Competition
  • Year:
  • Length:
    88 minutes
  • Language:
    English, Farsi, German
  • Country:
  • Premiere:
  • Connect:
Cast & Credits
  • Cinematographer:
    Till Schauder, Gerardo Milszstein
  • Cast:
    Shahin Najafi, Leili Bazargan, Günter Wallraff, Majid Kazemi, Shahryar Ahadi
  • Editing Consultant:
    Mark Becker
  • Editor:
    Tina Grapenthin
  • Composer:
    Max Avery Lichtenstein
  • Screenwriter:
    Till Schauder
  • Director:
    Till Schauder
  • Assistant Editor:
    Aron Koszeg
  • Producer:
    Sara Nodjoumi, Till Schauder
  • Executive Producer:
    Julie Goldman, Lisa Kleiner Chanoff, Bonni Cohen, Abigail Disney, Chris Clements, Gini Reticker

  • International Sales Contact
    Sara Nodjoumi
    Partner Pictures
    Brooklyn, NY 11215
    Phone: 347 634 4315
  • Press Contact
    Michelle DiMartino
    Falco Ink
    New York, New York 10016
    Phone: 212 445 7100
  • Print Source
    Sara Nodjoumi
    Partner Pictures
    Brooklyn, NY 11215
    Phone: 347 634 4315
  • US Sales Contact
    Evan Krauss
    Gray Krauss Stratford Sandler Des Rochers LLP
    New York, NY 10001
    Phone: 212 966 6700