Documentary / 74 mins


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

This film follows a group of young Iranian wrestlers through the highs and lows as they compete to represent their country at next World Wrestling Championships, and the respect, glory, and honor 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.

The film is not investigative, instead it is driven by the personal stories of the Gauthiers as they search and uncover more evidence. It is through their personal account and a trip to Rwanda that the stories of other survivors start to emerge - strengthening our understanding as to why the Gauthiers are so driven in seeking justice for the victims. ‘Justice Seekers’ also gives a greater understanding of the effects of the genocide today and how it shaped lives, hopes and dreams for the future.

However almost all wrestlers come from the slums and poverty-stricken districts. Wrestling offers a very slim chance to make something 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 main characters 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 adult Olympic champion.
This project has 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".


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


  • 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)

Media Coverage and Interviews