Voices of Bam

"With an eye like late Dutch doc artist Johan van der Keuken and a haunting mood like the opening of Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire, Voices of Bam is smart, emotional, thoughtfully crafted and reveals the culture in a profound way "JENNIE PUNTER  Friday, April 28, 2006 , Special to The Globe and Mail /HOTDOCS
"A delicate and incredibly human film" www.eyeforfilm.co.uk

"...a beautiful and profoundly sad account...",(Filmkrant)  "...a precious account about grief, mourning and survival...of an almost magical quality" ..." (Skrien) 

 As much as the sight of disasters repels us, we often find it difficult to avert our eyes. But it is hard not to be frustrated and a little nauseated by the standard reporting method of sticking cameras and microphones into the faces of bruised and dazed survivors while repeating the pointless question: "How did it feel?" Voices of Bam offers a completely different portrayal of disaster-one far more sensitive than mere reportage-as it accords its subjects enormous dignity while giving them an opportunity to express themselves with a rare, simple eloquence. The powerful earthquake that struck the ancient city of Bam in southeastern Iran on December 26, 2003, killed over 43,000 people, injured 20,000, and left 60,000 inhabitants homeless. Much of the city, including a 2,000-year-old mud-brick citadel that was universally revered as one of the world's architectural heritage sites, was completely leveled. Inspired by snapshots uncovered in the rubble-which are the only remaining tangible reminders of life before the quake-the filmmakers almost seem to be overhearing the city's inhabitants, who try to go on with their lives one year later. The film thus speaks volumes about the relationship between men and women in Iran, and about their relationship to God. The grief and guilt expressed by the survivors strike a universal chord, and the indomitable life force they embody is unforgettable. TIME MAGAZINE, May 6, 2006


Ever since the earthquake of December 2003, Bam in Southern Iran is nothing but rubble and ruin. Not only have its walls crumbled, exposing kitchens and courtyards, the hearts of its people too, appear to have fallen open. Like a ghost, the camera drifts through the town, recording the everyday events of Bam's inhabitants and picking up the intimate, inner conversations they have with their dear departed. In doing so, the film also touches upon the relationship between men and women in Iran and their relationship to God. Above all, ‘Voices of Bam' is an ode to the indefatigable life-force embodied by the people of this town. The film is inspired by photographs that were recovered from the town's debris...the only tangible mementoes left of life before the earthquake.


Prix du Jury Interreligieux Visions du Reel Nyon 2006

Special Jury Award Tribeca Int. Film Festival New York 2006

Best Feature Documentary Dokufest Kosovo 2006

Special Mention Amnesty Award Copenhagen Dox 2006

Best Documentary Int. Filmfestival Bucharest Romania 2007

Best Sound design nomination Dutch Filmfestival 2006


Worldpremiere: Int. Film Festival Rotterdam 2006

Hot Docs Toronto Canada 2006

Green Filmfestival Seoul, Korea 2006

Dokfest Madrid 2006

Israel Womans Filmfestival 2006

Batumi Int. Filmfestival Geogria 2006

Frankfurt int. Filmfestival Germany 2006

Docupolis festival Barcelona Spain

Message to Man Filmfestival St. Petersburg 2006

Netherlands Filmfestival Utrecht 2006

Baja California Filmfestival USA 2006

Milwaukee Int. Filmfestival USA 2006

Edinburgh int filmfestival 2006

Dok Leipzig 2006

Calgary Int. Filmfestival Canada 2006

Tempo Int. Docfestival Stockholm Sweden 2006

Documentary Workshop Reykjavik Iceland 2007

Int. Filmfestival Tessaloniki Greece 2007

It’s All True Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2007

Melbourne Int. Film Festival 2007

Argentina  filmfestival 2007



English title:           Voices of Bam

Original title:          Voices of Bam

Directors:               Aliona van der Horst and Maasja Ooms

Producer:                Frank van den Engel

Duration:                90 min

Format:                   filmed with 16 mm

Screening format:    Digibeta 16:9 anamorph/ 35mm copy


Language spoken:   Farsi

Subtitled:               Engels

Sound:                    Prologic

Broadcast               NPS Dutch Public Television