Desert Dancer

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Desert Dancer
Desert Dancer.jpg
North American theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Raymond
Produced by
Parisa Dunn
Written by Jon Croker
Music by Benjamin Wallfisch
Cinematography Carlos Catalán
Edited by
  • Chris Gill
  • Celia Haining
  • CrossDay Productions Ltd.
  • Head Gear Films
  • Lipsync Productions
  • May 13 Films
  • Morocco Film Assistance
Distributed by
Release date
  • 3 July 2014 (2014-07-03) (Germany)
  • 10 April 2015 (2015-04-10) (United States)
  • 15 April 2016 (2016-04-15) (United Kingdom)
Running time
104 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Romania
  • Morocco
Language English
Budget $4 million
Box office $432,560[2]

Desert Dancer is a 2014 British biographical drama film directed by Richard Raymond and written by Jon Croker. Starring Reece Ritchie and Freida Pinto, the film is based on the true story of Afshin Ghaffarian, a young, self-taught dancer in Iran, who risked his life for his dream to become a dancer despite a nationwide dancing ban.[3]


Set in Iran, the story follows the ambition of Afshin Ghaffarian. During the volatile climate of the 2009 presidential election, Afshin and some friends (including Elaheh played by Freida Pinto) risk their lives and form an underground dance company. The group learned the dancing from videos of Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev even though the online videos are banned. Afshin and Elaheh also learn much from each other and learned how to embrace their passion for dance and for one another.[4]



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.[5] 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.[6][7] Relativity Media has acquired North America distribution rights to the film [8] at 2013 American Film Market.[9]


Desert Dancer premiered in Germany on July 3, 2014.[10] It opened the Ischia Global Film and Music Fest in Ischia, Italy on July 13, 2014.[11] The film premiered in Hong Kong on August 28, 2014 and in the United States on April 10, 2015.[12]


  1. ^ "DESERT DANCER (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  2. ^ "Desert Dancer (2014) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. 14 February 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  3. ^ "Interview with Afshin Ghaffarian | Cat On The Wall Webzine". Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  4. ^ "Desert Dancer". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Published Saturday, Oct 13 2012, 01:07 BST (2012-10-13). "Freida Pinto: 'Dance training for Desert Dancer was daunting' - Bollywood News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  6. ^ "65th Cannes Film Festival - Desert Dancer Photocall - Cannes Film Festival 2012: Stars step up red carpet style on day 2". NY Daily News. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  7. ^ "Freida Pinto at Desert Dancer photocall at the Cannes Film Festival". Pinkvilla. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  8. ^ Dave McNary (2013-11-09). "AFM: Freida Pinto’s ‘Desert Dancer’ Picked Up by Relativity (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  9. ^ Douglas, Edward (2013-11-10). "Relativity Picks up Desert Dancer, Starring Freida Pinto". Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  10. ^ Vorgestellt von Katja Nicodemus. "Drama: "Wüstentänzer" | - Kultur - Film". Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  11. ^ "Cannes: 'Desert Dancer' to Open Ischia Global Film & Music Fest". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  12. ^ "Desert Dancer (2014) Release Info". Retrieved 2015-11-02. 

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