Desert Dancer

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Desert Dancer
Directed by Richard Raymond
Produced by
  • Richard Raymond
Written by Jon Croker
Music by Benjamin Wallfisch
Cinematography Carlos Catalan
Distributed by Six Sales, Relativity Media
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $6,000,000

Desert Dancer is a biographical film directed by Richard Raymond. Desert dancer tells a true story of a young, self-taught dancer in Iran, Afshin Ghaffarian, who risked his life for his dream to become a dancer despite a nationwide dancing ban.[1]


Set in Iran, this powerful and unbelievable true story follows the brave ambition of Afshin Ghaffarian. During the volatile climate of the 2009 presidential election, where many cultural freedoms were threatened, Afshin and some friends (including Elaheh played by Freida Pinto) risk their lives and form an underground dance company. Through banned online videos, they learn from timeless legends who cross all cultural divides, such as- Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev. Afhsin and Elaheh also learn much from each other, most importantly how to embrace their passion for dance and for one another.[2]


Actor Role
Reece Ritchie Afshin Ghaffarian
Freida Pinto Elaheh
Nazanin Boniadi Parisa Ghaffarian
Tom Cullen Ardavan
Marama Corlett Mona
Simon Kassianides Sattar
Akin Gazi Farid Ghaffarian
Tolga Safer Stephano
Makram Khoury Mehdi


Richard Raymond who is making his full-length debut and is working with acclaimed choreographer Akram Khan, whose work featured in the Olympic opening ceremony at London 2012. Richard Raymond is producing the film through his May 13 Films banner. Freida Pinto undertook an intensive training schedule for the role that comprised eight hours of dance rehearsals every day for 14 weeks.[3] Photo call for the film was held at the Palais des Festivals during the third day of the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on Friday May 18, 2012.[4][5] Relativity Media has acquired North America distribution rights to the film [6] at 2013 American Film Market.[7]


Desert Dancer premiered in Germany on July 3, 2014.[8] It opened the Ischia Global Film and Music Fest in Ischia, Italy on July 13, 2014.[9] The film will premiere in Hong Kong on August 28, 2014 and in the United States on March 20, 2015.[10]

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