“My songs didn’t make me famous. The fatwa did.” When God Sleeps unfolds against the backdrop of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks in the Bataclan concert venue and European right-wing backlash against Middle-Eastern refugees. It deftly weaves the journey of exiled Iranian musician Shahin Najafi with historical context and intimate biographical detail, rooting the narrative in Najafi’s immediate and unavoidable reality, living under a fatwa issued against him by hardline Shiite clerics. As Najafi juggles a personal life and budding romance in Cologne, far from loved ones, with a professional career whose high profile may cost him his life, he spars with bandmates who are ambivalent about the peril his status places on their lives, and battles German police who refuse to see the death threat on his head as a legitimate danger. With camerawork that underlines the intimate aspect of this film, we bear witness to the life of an outspoken artist defying powerful men intent on silencing him.
—Cara Cusumano, Director of Programming for the Tribeca Film Festival
WHEN GOD SLEEPS is a documentary by Till Schauder, presented by Partner Pictures in conjunction with ITVS, Catapult Film Fund, Motto Pictures, Fork Films, and WDR.
Schauder got his start in Germany where he wrote and directed the award winning feature films STRONG SHIT and CITY BOMBER. His U.S. debut, SANTA SMOKES won several international awards, among them Best Director at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Studio Hamburg Newcomer Award. In 2012, Schauder completed his first documentary, the critically acclaimed THE IRAN JOB, which was released theatrically in several countries, shortlisted for a German Oscar, and is now available on Netflix. In 2014 he was awarded the prestigious Gerd-Ruge-Stipendium by Medienstiftung NRW, Germany’s largest federal film fund. Schauder received his MA at the University of Television and Film, Munich. He teaches film classes at NYU and Vermont College of Fine Arts where he is a founding faculty of the Film Masters Program.
Nodjoumi is an independent film producer and film festival programmer. She most recently produced the feature documentary THE IRAN JOB, which was released theatrically and on Netflix worldwide. In Germany, the film was shortlisted for a German Academy Award. For THE IRAN JOB Nodjoumi managed two of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time. She co-produced and co-directed I CALL MYSELF PERSIAN: IRANIANS IN AMERICA, which aired on PBS and premiered at the MoMA Documentary Fortnight. Nodjoumi joined director Till Schauder, as an Associate Producer on his feature films SANTA SMOKES and DUKE’S HOUSE. Their collaboration continues with the feature documentary THE REGGAE BOYZ, which is currently in post-production, and WHEN GOD SLEEPS, co-produced by ITVS and supported by numerous foundations including the Sundance Institute, Catapult Film Fund, Fork Film, the Jerome Foundation, and NYSCA. From 2004-2009, Nodjoumi worked at the Tribeca Film Festival as an Associate Programmer and is currently the Artistic Director of the New York Sephardic Film Festival. In 2016, she was invited to attend the Sundance Creative Producer’s Summit.
11 August 2017 | Austrian Premiere at Filmfest Kitzbühel
WGS will screen at FFKB in Austria on August 25 & 26. Find out more on our blog post!
3 August 2017 | Irish Premiere at Guth Gafa
We’ll be screening at Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival in Kells, County Meath, this Saturday, 5 August. Tickets available now!
24 June 2017 | German Premiere at Filmfest München
WGS had its German premiere on Friday, July 23. In attendance were director Till Schauder and Shahin Najafi himself.
5 June 2017 | WGS Wins Award at Krakow
We’re excited to announce that WGS has won the Golden Heynal Award at the 57th Krakow Film Festival! Read more about it on our blog.
1 June 2017 | Film-Forward
Film-Forward‘s Phil Guie calls WHEN GOD SLEEPS an “engrossing, suspenseful documentary” in this new review.
WHEN GOD SLEEPS is available for community screenings starting this fall. Email us if you’re interested in hosting a screening and invite your friends, coworkers, family, and classmates. Here are some of our upcoming/past screenings:
Filmfestival Kitzbühel — Kitzbühel, Austria
August 25 & 26, 2017
DocLands Documentary Film Festival — Marin County, California
May 13, 2017
Tribeca Film Festival — NYC, New York
April 20, 2017 – April 30, 2017
Contact us with questions regarding WHEN GOD SLEEPS or Partner Pictures