Climbing Iran: The Documentary That Tells The Story Of Nasim Eshqi And Her Challange Against Gender-based Violence


Climbing Iran is a documentary directed by Francesca Borghetti, which tells the story of Iranian climber Nasim Eshqi, between mountains and female self-determination.

An evening dedicated to the mountains and to a powerful and positive female story, on the occasion of International Mountain Day. The documentary Climbing Iran, directed by Francesca Borghetti, who is at her directorial debut, will be screened at the Cinema delle Provincie in Rome (viale delle Provincie, 41 – tel. 0644236021) on Wednesday 15 December 2021 at 8.30 p.m.

climbing iran

The director will present Climbing Iran to the public. Parisa Nazari, from the Italian-Iranian cultural association Alefba, a representative of the CAI – Club Alpino Italiano of Rome, and the editor Aline Hervé will also participate in the meeting.

Climbing Iran is the story of Nasim Eshqi, an Iranian professional climber, born in 1982, one of the few women in the Middle Eastern country to have become passionate about outdoor climbing.

The film, distributed in cinemas by Mescalito Film, is currently being shown throughout Italy as part of the La montagna al cinema festival.

climbing iran

Climbing Iran had its world premiere at Alice in the City 2020 and has participated in numerous Italian and international festivals, winning various awards, including the Audience Award at the Trento Film Festival 2021, the Libero Bizzarri Italiadoc 2021 Award, and the Best Emerging Filmmaker Award at the What If – Women in Film Festival in Zurich.

The documentary is currently being screened in Nepal, in competition at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival. Produced by Filippo Macelloni for NANOF Srl and co-produced by Giordano Cossu for the French Hirya Lab, ‘Climbing Iran’ features photography by Davood Ashrafi, Corrado Measso, and Federico Santini.

Climbing Iran tells the story of Iranian climber Nasim Eshqi, strong hands, and nails painted with shocking pink nail polish. After having been a young champion in various sports – from karate to kickboxing – she followed the call of nature by going beyond the barriers imposed on Iranian women, building her own path in the Persian mountains, where she has opened about fifty new routes.

She is the only Iranian woman to reach high difficulties, a pioneer in a country where women climb mostly indoors, during fixed hours, and only among women. The film is the portrait of an extraordinary woman, determined to overcome the barriers that oppose her passion, be they physical, social, psychological, geographical, or ideological. Committed to “changing things little by little”, she takes other young women to the rock faces just outside Tehran, teaching them how to climb and become independent. Nasim has a dream that can become reality: to open a ‘new route’ in the Alps even when reaching Europe itself is a real challenge…

Nasim argues in the documentary:

Gravity doesn’t ask me for my passport. It pulls you down in the same way, no matter if you are rich or poor, black or white, Iranian or Italian, man or woman”.

climbing iran

Francesca Borghetti underlines:

I read about Nasim for the first time in an Italian magazine. The images of her climbing the mountain without a veil had a strong impact on me, almost a thunderbolt. Climbing a mountain imposes the challenge of overcoming one’s personal limits. It is, in a way, a highly symbolic act. Making this film – became my mountain to climb, and Nasim helped me to find the determination to do it, to carry out a project that seemed enormously difficult and that put me completely at stake”.

climbing iran

With a background in Cultural Anthropology, Francesca Borghetti has been working in the field of documentaries since 2000, graduating from Eurodoc 2010. She has developed, written, produced, and directed several documentaries within DocLab and Fabulafilm, Rai Storia, Rai 5, and Babel Tv. A spokesperson for Doc/itAssociazione Documentaristi Italiani from 2015 to 2017, Borghetti collaborated with the RAI programme, Petrolio, as a delegate for the acquisition of national and international documentaries. She currently collaborates as an expert at RAI Documentari, directed by Duilio Giammaria. Climbing Iran is her first documentary film as a director. Francesca spoke about the making of this film in the TedX Women Navigli 2021.


NANOF is an independent production company based in Rome, Italy, founded by filmmakers Filippo Macelloni and Lorenzo Garzella. Since 2001 it has been producing documentaries, narrative films, cross-media, video installations, and television projects, developing an important network of collaborators at an international level, working both in Italy and in co-production with foreign partners. Among the feature documentaries: The Disappearance of My Mother (presented at Sundance 2019), Storie di Altromare (Sky Arte, 2018), Children in Time (Rai, 2016), Il Mundial dimenticato (2012).