90 min.


Dream of Grape Gardens

Dream of Grape Gardens

In 1984, my family left Afghanistan to find my missing brother in Iran. This film is about a woman who wants to find her son and her daughter who wants to emancipate from her community.

In 1984, two million Afghani fled the war to take refuge in Iran. But my family crossed the country to find my missing brother, who disappeared during a business trip years before. He left the hotel after an argument and amidst Iran's protests, he couldn't be located. Father lied upon his return saying that my brother enrolled in a boarding school. When Mother learned the truth, she went to Iran, leaving everything behind. Arriving in Iran, we were stripped of basic rights as Afghan refugees. One day, Afghani children were barred from attending school. My mother handed me a camera and it allowed me to question what it meant to become a woman in a society that oppresses them. Recently, escaping Afghanistan in 2021 mirrored my mother's journey four decades earlier. Dream of Grape Gardens explores the desperation of a mother searching for her son and a daughter striving for emancipation within the Afghan community in Iran, in which everybody seems to have experienced loss and heartbreak.

Director’s statement
For three decades I looked at the picture of a little boy on our wall and heard my mother say that her missing son, will return one day.

As a filmmaker, I am interested in the situations of young girls within middle eastern society. For Dream of Grape Gardens, I wanted to turn my camera towards my mother and look at my relationship with her. She gave me my first camera and it was a crucial tool to help me survive in an oppressive society.

For all these years, our family life was punctuated by Alireza’s search. I did not know that the endless search for my missing brother would lead me to countless other stories of exile and heartbreak within our marginalized community of Afghan refugees in Iran.

I continue to use my camera today to show the reality of the forgotten people. This story is about two women from two different generations, traveling through time and memories, through the present and the past, in the hope of finding something they have both lost.

Director and Scriptwriter
Sahra Mani

Country of production


Target audience

Adult (themes of war, oppression and immigration)

Animation technique

2D (vector based)

Production company

Urban Factory

Estimated budget

1 200 000 EUR

Funding secured

62 700 EUR - Urban Factory, Media Creative Europe MEDIA – Slate Funding, Pictanovo Documentaire France, Afghanistan Doc House

Stage of the project

script development (existing treatment)

Looking for

Co-producer, distributor, broadcaster


CEE Animation is supported by the Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union and co-funded by state funds and foundations and professional organisations from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

More info