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Sepideh: Reaching for the Stars

Can a young Iranian woman become an astronaut? SEPIDEH: REACHING FOR THE STARS is the story of a remarkable teenage girl named Sepideh who defies societal expectations and courageously works to make her dream come true.

Director: Berit Madsen
Year: 2013
Time: 90 min

(2013) on IMDb

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Ways to Influence

Share this film so that others can also be inspired by the courage, determination, and resilience of Sepideh.

Visit Anousheh Ansari’s official website to learn more about her involvements with space travel and science education.

Support your local observatory or science and space museum. Invite children you know to join you in learning more about the stars, and more importantly, encourage them to find their own dreams.

Participate in an Astronomy Club, or if there isn’t one in your community, start one of your own and invite students to join you.

Related Articles and Resources

Berit Madsen On Meeting The Inspiration Behind SEPIDEH

“It only took a second to realize that she might not be just any girl. Her heavy military style boots, the extreme determination in her eyes, the mere fact that she had come alone in these late hours to meet a group of boys, with no adult—it didn’t really make sense…. I absolutely needed to find out who this young woman was and what she was up to.”

Tribeca Film has the full story.

Reaching For the Stars

“My dearest Mr. Einstein, You’re the greatest physicist of the 20th century, and I’m just a 16 year old Iranian high school girl. Did you look at the sky and think of the dear ones you lost? It sounds so rude that I, Sepideh, want to talk to you or tell you about my dreams. Einstein, with the help of you and the sky I want to reach far. To make my father proud.”

Read here to learn why Berit Madsen chose to use Sepideh’s diary in telling her story.

Interview with Berit Madsen

“Documentary film-making for me is a unique and extremely exiting tool for discovery…. It fascinates me that life is so complex and I’m driven towards a subject if I feel that I can’t get a clue out of it. I love to work with an observational approach instead of basing my films on interviews because this is the way I can be disturbed the most, by letting reality take me to into unforeseen directions.”

Read more at ScreenDaily.

Astronomy in Ancient Iran

“Ancient Iranians knew the relationship between the Sun and the Earth,” states the Iran Chamber. “While Galileo in 1616 CE was punished for saying that the earth went round the sun, the Iranians two millenniums before that date had all their calculations in place with regard to the movement of the earth round the sun.”

Anousheh Ansari

Meet one of Sepideh’s greatest mentors, Anousheh Ansar, the first female space explorer and first space ambassador. Not only was she an early inspiration for Sepideh’s dreams and determination, but she’s now actively supporting Sepideh’s education and career ambitions.

Since 2004, Ansari has been involved in the X Prize, awarding millions of dollars to support spaceflight.

Visit Ansari’s website to learn more about her story and experiences.

An Iranian Girl, Battling to Be an Astronomer

In Wired Magazine, Berit Madsen notes that there are many documentaries that deal with difficult issues faced by Middle Eastern women, but those aren’t the only stories. Growing pockets of the nation’s huge youth population want to step outside the country’s norms. Madsen saw an opportunity to document a different kind of struggle.

“It’s very interesting to hear about meeting young people who dare to dream – those stories exist too,” said Madsen.

Iran Honors First Female Astronomer

Over 100 people gathered in Tehran to celebrate the 90th birth anniversary of Iran’s first female astronomer and physics professor, Alenoush Terian.

Learn more here.


Berit Madsen said the award will encourage Sepideh as she continues to show young people that they should never give up but always follow their dream.

Read all about it here!


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