Swedish Documentary ‘No Burqas Behind Bars’ Wins International Emmy

The Swedish documentary film No Burqas behind Bars (Frihet bakom galler) directed by Nima Sarvestani in collaboration with Maryam Ebrahimi (pictured) won on Monday in New York the prestigious International Emmy for Best Documentary Film. The film produced by Nima Film was supported by Nordisk Film & TV Fond.

No Burqas Behind Bars follows three women who have fled arranged marriages, or their abusive husband or families and are locked in for this ‘moral crime’ in the female section of Thakar Prison in Afghanistan. Maryam Ebrahimi who was on hand to pick up the award at New York Hilton Hotel said: “An important reason why director Nima Sarvestani and I made the film was to try to change the law in Afghanistan and improve the situation for women. I want to dedicate this award to all the embattled Afghan women and especially the brave persons who entrusted us with this portrait.”

One of the female inmates in the film –Sara- was helped by the filmmakers to come to Sweden because her life was at risk after her release from jail in Afghanistan. Ebrahimi is doing a follow-up film about Sarah’s new life in Sweden. As for Sarvestani, he is presenting at this week’s IDFA main competition section his latest film Those Who Said No (check our interview CLICK HERE).

At Monday’s International Emmys, another top winner was Stephan Dillane named Best Actor for his role in the French/UK series The Tunnel, adapted from the original Danish/Swedish crime series The Bridge/Bron.


From the Nordisk Film and TV Fund

Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.