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HOLY PROSTITUTION, filmed in 2020, deals with the discrimination and oppression of women under the current regime in Iran. Filmmaker Mehdi Kazemi takes great risks to expose and question the practice of religiously legitimized prostitution through “temporary marriage.” Some parts of the film were shot with a hidden camera. Three women and a clergyman who works for the government were interviewed. Voices and opinions of people on the street were captured in a shared taxi for safety reasons.

Mehdi Kazemi is an Austrian citizen who was born in Iran. He has returned to Iran several times to document the lives of oppressed people; uncensored and without government permission. In December 2021, he was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards while filming about “Kulbars” in Iranian Kurdistan. He was held and tortured in a solitary cell in an unregistered prison for 76 days and was ultimately sentenced to 16 years in prison for propaganda against the Islamic Republic as well as other false allegations. In September 2022 he was able to escape back to his home in Vienna where he continues to fight for human rights and against discrimination.

This film is dedicated to the courageous women in Iran who are fighting for their freedom.

Running Time: 78 min.
Original Language: Farsi
Subtitles: German, English
Location: Iran
Shooting Period: 2020

Script, Direction & EditMehd Kazemi
MusicSina Derakhshan
Post ProductionAli Naderi
Re-editBernhard Riener & Jonathan Vaughan
English SubtitlesKit Stebbins
German SubtitlesKarina Melcher
Thank you to all the women who allowed
their interviews to be shown.
Thank you to all colleagues and friends
who helped with this production, but chose
to remain anonymous due to safety reasons.