When God Sleeps depicts the journey of Iranian musician Shahin Najafi, who was forced into hiding after hardline clerics issued a fatwa for his death, incensed by a rap song that focused on the oppression of women and human rights abuses. As a youth, Najafi was talented in recitation of the Koran. Now each of his concerts puts his life at risk.
Worldwide press reports have described Najafi as the "Salman Rushdie of music," though Rushdie could write while in hiding and Najafi, as a musician, needs to perform. Director Till Schauder will tell one man's story while delving into issues of freedom of speech and how one man decides to persevere and live his life, despite the fatwa.
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To date, Schauder and Producer Sara Nodjoumi have received development grants from The Sundance Institute, Catapult Film Fund, Fork Films and Hartley. When God Sleeps has been recommended for a German Academy Award in the Category "Best Film in Development," and is also a recipient of German Federal Film Board development funding and the Germany-based Gerd Ruge Stipendium. The filmmakers pitched the film at DOK Leipzig and Hot Docs Forum, and were invited to IFP Spotlight on Documentaries this September.