Cutting Through Rocks is a feature-length documentary about Sara Shahverdi, 38, who decides to run for a council seat in her rural village in the Northwest of Iran, where women are rarely accepted as politicians. Against all odds, with the highest number of votes by women and first-time-18-year-old voters, she becomes the first female in her native village to take the seat, only to face a deep male opposition in the council and across the village.
But with her winning, the dynamics between her and her family members shift. The film explores the complexities and challenges Sara has to face not only in her male-dominated society but also within her own family. To step into her role as a leader, she must withstand criticism from her male-driven environment and grapple with her own loneliness.
The film follows Sara as she pursues her dreams fearlessly while unveiling her vulnerable true self through moments of solitude and self-discovery. As the story moves forward in the present time, there will be moments to explore Sara’s past as a midwife, a motorcycle shop owner, a divorcée, and a women’s rights advocate.
Sara’s story will be weaved with the stories of three women who are deeply connected to her: Avah, who was delivered by Sara, but is now a child-bride victim; Kobrah, who is forcefully married and is struggling to get divorced, despite her family’s will; and Parisa, who did not have the support to continue her education, but now has the dream of becoming a midwife.
Through vérité cinematic approach, Sara gives us rare access to a world that has always been hidden in the mainstream media; a world in which she aims to change one step at a time.
Cutting Through Rocks is a participant of the 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab.
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
Cutting Through Rocks is co-directed by Sara Khaki and Mohammad Reza Eyni.
Sara Khaki is an emerging independent documentary filmmaker and editor with a passion for telling untold stories that matter in our lives. She graduated from the University of Maryland – Baltimore County with a BFA in Cinematic Arts and the School of Visual Arts with a MFA in Social Documentary Film. Sara was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and she currently resides between New York City and Tehran.
Mohammad Reza Eyni graduated with an MFA in Cinema from Tehran University College of Fine Arts. He began his career as a sound designer and an editor in film and TV, fiction and nonfiction. Since 2010, he has directed and wrote more than ten documentary films. His first feature, The Silent Horse, received the Visual Arts Award and Diploma of Honor from the Fajr International Film Festival. Mohammad Reza lives and works in Tehran, Iran.