Boys with Broken Ears

A group of young Iranian wrestlers go through highs and lows as they compete to represent their country at next World Wrestling Championships, striving to achieve the respect, glory, and honour that comes with it.

Boys with Broken Ears is an intimate look at a universal story, told through the dream of becoming an Olympic Wrestler. In Iran wrestling is a very popular sport, with historical roots in the country’s religion and mythology. It is like football for the Brazilians or boxing for the Cubans, and Iran has consistently produced outstanding world champions that have gone on to win gold and silver at the Olympic Games. Almost all wrestlers come from the slums and poverty-stricken districts and wrestling offers a very slim chance to make something out of their lives. As a result, two million youngsters try to make it to the national youth team ever year in Iran, but only a handful do.

With unprecedented access to the national youth team, the film follows three young wrestlers who come from very deprived areas of Iran, whose skills and determination have earned them a spot in the team. They are preparing for the biggest event of their careers so far – the world youth championship in Hungary. If they can perform well at the championships they’ll be one step closer to achieving their dreams of becoming an Olympic champion.

This project received seed funding and support from the Iran Heritage Foundation and Magic of Persia. Al Jazeera English are the official Co-Producers. A version of this film was shown on the Witness strand under the name “Iran’s Sporting Dreamers”.

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Nima Shayeghi


Golriz Kolahi
David Alamouti




David Mackie


Dominique Young Siamak Shayeghi


Al Jazeera

Broadcast date

21 March 2013


Roger Eaton

Additional Camera

Robert Szabo

Sound Recorder

William Pleasant

Sound Designer

James Morgan

Colour grade

Malcolm Ellison

Attended Festivals

New Middle East Cinema, 2015
American Documentary Film Festival, 2015
Maailmafilmi World Film Festival, 2015
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2015
Festival Film Dokumenter, 2014 (Award of Merit)
Lake Champlain International Film Festival 2014 (Best Documentary)
Social Justice Film Festival
Noor Film Festival, 2014 (Best Story)


House of Cinema ( Khanehcinema, Tehran)
Cinema Museum (Tehran)
Art and Experience Cinema (Tehran)
College & University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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