When God Sleeps


Sequoia 1 Sat, May 13, 2017 8:30 PM
Film Info
Section:The Art of Impact
Running Time:88 min.
Director:Till Schauder
Producer:Sara Nodjoumi
Till Schauder
Screenwriter:Till Schauder
Cinematographer:Till Schauder
Gerardo Milzstein
Editor:Tina Grapenthin
Note Writer:Sterling Hedgpeth


Exiled from his homeland with a fatwa looming over his head, Iranian musician and songwriter Shahin Najafi is cobbling together a livelihood in Germany right when tensions about Muslim immigration are boiling over. Labeled both a viral sensation on social media and a “blasphemer” by the mullahs in Tehran, he struggles to organize concerts in the shadow of the recent Paris terror attacks. Recruiting musicians is hard; keeping them in the face of death threats is even harder. And so goes Till Schauder’s shrewd, raw documentary on this complex and vibrant talent whose zeal about being a provocateur is tempered by the sobering truth of a changing world where his musical expression runs the risk of alienating even those closest to him. Juggling personal tragedy, high-energy rock/rap performances and his own crisis of faith, Najafi proves a singular, memorable voice in a 21st-century artistic landscape rich with vision, courage and contradictions.

In Person: Director Till Schauder, Producer Sara Nodjoumi

Co-presented by Diaspora Arts Connection

Additional Information

Till Schauder got his start in Germany, where he received his MA at the Munich University of Television and Film. His U.S. debut, Santa Smokes, won several international awards and, in 2012, Schauder completed his first documentary, the critically acclaimed The Iran Job, which was shortlisted for a German Academy Award. In 2014 he received an award from Germany’s largest federal film fund to develop When God Sleeps. In 2016 he won the “ARD Top of the Docs” Award to shoot Hassan Against the World, a feature documentary about Iraqi refugees in Germany combating ISIS through performance arts. Schauder teaches film classes at New York University and Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he is a founding faculty member of the Film Masters Program.