The forbidden strings | تارهای ممنوعه

A Creative Documentary by Hasan Noori

Produced by Afsaneh Salari & Hasan Noori
Production: Docmaniacs Collectivs
Iran, Afghanistan & Qatar 

72’ | 4K | World Premiere: IDFA 2019

World sales: Docmaniacs

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They’ve been making music together for years, despite the disapproval of the people around them. Akbar, Soori, Mohammed and Hakim are the only young immigrants in Iran who have formed a rock band. All they miss now is an opportunity to play live. The Forbidden Strings shows the musical foursome struggling to get themselves heard, and follows them in the run-up to a historic day.

As the title suggests, they face quite a few challenges along the way. All four band members are children of Afghan parents who fled to Iran, and that means they face dangers if they return to their homeland. Their families are worried about them. The rockers promise to stay out of trouble when they go to Kabul for their show, but they realize what they’re up against soon after arriving. Clearly, Afghanistan is still a very dangerous place.

The moments of joy are infectious, but sobering reality is always lurking. An honest film about four young people who have to break with tradition to express themselves.

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Festivals & screenings

  • IDFA 2019, Luminous Section, Netherland, World Premiere
  • Iranian International Documentary Film Festival: Cinema Verite 2019, Competition, Iran, Special
  • mention
  • One World Human Rights Documentary Film Festival 2020, Czech Republic
  • Human Rights Film Festival Berlin 2020, Competition, Germany
  • Crocevia di sguardi 2020, Documentary section, Italy
  • Afghanistan Lajevard Film Festival 2020, Competition, Afghanistan, Best directing
  • Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival (JAFF) 2020, Documentary section, Indonesia
  • IFSAK Cinema Division 2021, Special screening, Turkey
  • Thin Line Film Festival 2021, Competition, USA
  • Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2021, Competition, USA
  • Queens World Film Festival 2021, USA
  • Internationales Festival Zeichen der Nacht 2021, Germany
  • Phoenix Film Festival 2021, USA
  • Royal Starr Film Festival 2021, USA
  • Vox Popular Media Arts Festival 2021, USA
  • Crested Butte Film Festival 2021, USA
  • Woodstock FF 2021, USA
  • Festival des Liberte 2021, Belgium
  • Decibels Music Film Festival 2021, USA
  • Sound Unseen Film Festival 2021, USA
  • SoundTrack Cologne 2021, Germany
  • Duhok International Film Festival 2021, Kurdistan
  • NorthEast International Film Festival 2021, England
  • MENA Film Festival 2021, Canada
  • In-Edit Music Documentary Film Festivals, 2022, Brazil



  • Special mention, Iranian International Documentary Film Festival: Cinema Verite 2019, Competition, Iran
  • Best directing Afghanistan Lajevard Film Festival 2020, Competition, Afghanistan
  • Emerging Filmmaker Award to the producer Afsaneh Salari (For both films The Forbidden Strings & The Silhouettes)
  • Best Documentary Award, Queens World Film Festival 2021,
  • Special Mention for Best Music Documentary, Soundtrack Cologne 2021
  • Best Documentary Feature, Northeast International Film Festival 2021Best of fest Award, Northeast International Film Festival 2021


Press, interviews, and reviews

Interview with Afsaneh Salari, producer, with LRM 

Watch and listen to Afsaneh Salari, producer of The Forbidden Strings in an interview with Human Rights Film Festival BerlinConversation with Afsaneh Salari on Abadiat-va-yek-rooz podcast (Persian)


Supported by

Doha Film Institue
IDFA Bertha Fund
IDFA Summer School
Karlovy Vary Docs in Progress