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A man and a woman sitting on a motorcycle in a city.

SFFILM Festival

Empty Nets

Directed by Behrooz Karamizade

Germany | Fiction | 101

26 Apr
Fri, Apr 26 at 3:00 pm PT
28 Apr
Sun, Apr 28 at 2:30 pm PT

Guests Expected

Director Behrooz Karamizade is expected to attend


What begins as a pursuit of love becomes a dangerous journey into the seedy underbelly of Iran’s fisheries in director Behrooz Karamizade’s heart-wrenching neorealist debut. Deeply enamored with each other, Amir and Narges want to marry but Narges’s upper-class parents disapprove of the union. Amir is determined to prove himself worthy by earning a quick fortune for her dowry—a challenge in Iran’s difficult employment market. A talented swimmer, he earns a spot in a fishing operation, where he learns there is big money to be made in the perilous work of poaching and human smuggling. Now living far from his beloved, will Amir’s relationship with Narges survive the separation? Ashkan Ashkani’s dreamy cinematography captures the beauty of the Caspian Sea, a contrast to the ugly secrets the water holds, in this striking portrait of romance struggling against Iran’s social realities.

Director Behrooz Karamizade

Born in Iran and raised in Germany, Behrooz Karamizade studied film direction at Kunsthochschule Kassel in Kassel, Germany, where he made his short film Bahar in Wonderland (2013), which won over 20 film festival prizes. In addition to working as a director, he is a cameraman and editor. From 2015–2017, he taught at his alma mater.

Film Details

Language Farsi

Original Language Title Toorhaye khali

Year 2023

Premiere California

Runtime 101

Country Germany/Iran

Director Behrooz Karamizade

Producer Eva Kemme, Ansgar Frerich, Uschi Feldges

Writer Behrooz Karamizade

Editor Anne Jünemann

Cinematographer Ashkan Ashkani

Music John Gürtler, Jan Miserre

Cast Hamid Reza Abbasi, Sadaf Asgari, Keyvan Mohamadi, Pantea Panahiha

Closed Captions Closed Captions are not yet confirmed for this program

Audio Description Audio Descriptions are not yet confirmed for this program

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpretation American Sign Language Interpretation is not currently scheduled for this film