Off Beat

Director: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb

Documentary | 45 Mins


Restrictions on performing rock concerts in Iran led a 10 member group of music fans in 2002 to hold a contest on the Internet for Tehran’s underground rock bands.


Researcher, Writer & Director: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb / Editor & Director’s Advisor: Ebrahim Mokhtari / Camera: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Mohammad Ahmadi, Shahram Moubed / Sound Recordist: Farokh Fadaei / Sound Designer: Reza Moghaddas / Production Manager: Mohammad Reza Safiri / Associate Producer: Siamak Poursharif

With participation of: Tehran Underground Rock Bands  

Producer: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb


Technical Info

  • Saaze Mokhalef
  • 45 min., English Subtitle, PAL, DV Cam., Color, Iran, 2004
  • Persian
  • 4:3
  • Stereo
  • Blu-Ray / DVD / H.264 File


  • Best Documentary Film, 8th Ceremony of Iranian Cinema, House of Cinema, Tehran, September 2004


  • Documentary Film Week “Cinema-Music”, Sweden, February 2009
  • 3rd Police Film Festival, Tehran, Iran, December 2008
  • 24th annual MESA Film Festival, Montréal, Quebec, Canada, 2007
  • Week-end de films documentaires iraniens, "Diversité en Iran", Paris, France, 26-29 octobre 2007
  • 17th Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema at UCLA Film & Television Archive, L.A. USA, April 7 - May 11, 2007
  • 3rd “Artist Image” Film Festival, Tehran, Iran, April 2006
  • 6th Iranian Film Week and Conference, London, UK, 3-5 August 2006
  • 19th SINGAPORE International Film Festival, 2005
  • 2nd ALJAZEERA International Television Production Festival, Doha, Qatar, 2005
  • 10th PUSAN International Film Festival, South Korea, 2005
  • 2nd “Artist Image” Film Festival, Tehran, Iran, April 2005
  • Iran Documentary Film Week, Koln, Germany, 25-30 November 2004
  • 8th Iran Cinema Celebration, Tehran, Iran, September 2004

Special Screening

  • Mojtaba Mirtahmasb’s Films in the University of Minnesota, USA, September 2008
  • FREEMUSE, Films and documentaries relating to music and censorship, Copenhagen, Denmark, August 2oo7
  • Persian Visions at Pacific Asia Museum, “PERSIAN FILM SCREENING under the stars”, California, USA, June 22 September 9, 2007
  • Special screening at Iranian Documentary Filmmakers Association, House of Cinema, Iran, July 2007
  • Mojtaba Mirtahmasb’s Films in The Middle East Centre, Antony’s College, University of Oxford, UK, 2006
  • British Forum for Ethnomusicology Conference Report - Sexuality and Gender in Performance, Fieldwork and Representation - University of Winchester, UK, 31 March – 3 April, 2006
  • Freedom of Expression in Music and the Arts, Beirut, Lebanon, 7-8 October 2005

Director's Note

Three years of roaming among musicians of Tehran resulted in 4000 minutes of footage; the outcome of 14 months of editing were two films centered on the theme of "restrictions on music in Iran."

- Back Vocal tells the story of women singers, whose unaccompanied singing is forbidden by religious laws of the country, but who nonetheless try to remain active; even if that means taking the second seat. I knew from the beginning that such a film would not get permission to be screened, so I never applied for a permit.

- Off Beat is about young music lover—influenced by musical trends in the world, some of which are deemed harmful by officials in Iran—who have no place in the formal Iranian music scene and who play music in the quiet of their homes. Once I started editing Off Beat I realized that it may not get permission for screening. I nonetheless applied… but it was in vain.

It is only through the screening of a work that a director may call it final; even if that director has to go out of his/her way to do it, and that at great expense.

May 2005