All You See was the opening film of IDFA (the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam). All You See is Niki Padidar’s first feature film and won the award for 'best feature documentary' by the Dutch Directors Guild.
What if from one day to the next, you’re no longer seen, but instead are stared at? The leading characters in All You See have ended up in a new world where suddenly nothing seems to align. In their new lives in the Netherlands, they unintentionally provoke reactions on a daily basis. Even after many years, they still hear the same questions over and over again: where are you from, do you speak Dutch, do you tan in the sun?
Contemplating questions of what it means to belong, who gets excluded, and how outsider status is continually reaffirmed, Padidar’s film foregrounds the sensation of being looked at. Honest, painful, and humorous encounters with three other ‘new comers’ to the Netherlands are stylistically interwoven between Padidar’s own personal history, opening up a vulnerable space of articulation with global resonance. A confessional collage with no simple outs, All You See turns the spotlight on all of us, while simultaneously asking: who is “us”?
Niki Padidar is a film maker. Her debut documentary ‘Ninnoc’ won 7 international prizes, among others at film festivals like Berlinale and Idfa.
Her second film, and first feature film, ‘All you see’ was the opening film of the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) and won the award for 'best feature documentary' by the Dutch Directors Guild. She comes up with, writes and directs stories for children, youth and adults. She is specialized in youth. She wrote the sex education book ‘Dokter Corrie geeft antwoord’ that sold out and from which the second edition will appear soon. She hopes that the viewer will be surprised or confused after seeing her stories and will question her/his/their own version of reality. And she hopes that she will look less British in the future so people will stop addressing her in English five times a day.
Niki is born in Tehran, Iran. Ze studied photography at the New School University in New York, did an orientation year at the art academy ‘Rietveld academie’ and got her masters at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) specializing in ‘Youth & media’ and ‘Perception’.
I’ve lived in the Netherlands, US and Iran, and have ended up in a different world a few times, which put me in different positions. From rich to poor, from the norm to the other and from being seen to being stared at. It’s interesting to see that wherever you are… we tend to think that our own view is the only right one. And that we reject everything that deviates. I’ve experienced that there are always different versions of the truth that exist next to each other. You can only evolve if you’re willing to question your own version of reality.
One day I was fantasising about the score of my film. If I could choose any artist in the world, who would it be?
Easy. Fin Greenall. The great British singer songwriter. Also known as Fink. I decided to write him a note. Send a link of my previous film Ninnoc and ask him if he would be interested in collaborating on a new documentary. What could go wrong, right? I never actually expected to hear anything back.
6 years later… the original score of my film is done by Fin Greenall. He also wrote a Fink song for my end credits. The first time I heard it I was so happy, I cried. I rarely have come across such an incredible talented person who is also so modest. I am so lucky and so proud.
Most of you know him, I’m sure, but if you don’t… He was producer i.a. of Amy Winehouse, DJ, writer -i.a. with John Legend and later on a famous singer songwriter.
His songs have been streamed more than 250 million times on Spotify.
“soundtracking a subject so close to my heart was an experience that I found extremely emotional and uplifting…I was a big fan of Niki’s previous film Ninnoc and it was an honour to collaborate with such a visionary creative” —Fin Greenall
Khadija Sabriye (as herself)
Sofia Bonito Ferreira (as herself)
Hanna Khomyk (as herself)
Dewi Bus (actress)
Director, scenario & edit: Niki Padidar - Cinematography: Jean Charles Counet & Jefrim Rothuizen - Original score: Fin Greenall & Fink - Sound: Diego van Uden - Animation house grandpa: Anton Mishenin - Miniature house grandpa: Gerard Klein Hofmeijer - Art director: Nadide Argun van Uden - Co-edit: Albert Markus & Festus Toll - Creative Consultant: Joost Seelen - Line producer: Anjet Blinde
Sound Design: Tom Jansen - Colorist: Barend Onneweer - Data handling & Online edit: Rob Maas - Dramaturgical advice: Saskia de Jong - Line producer post production: Jeffrey de Roode & Jelte Zonneveld - Commissioning editor: Barbara Truyen - Network: vpro - Producer: mint film office
All you see is realized with the support of Mediafund, NPO-fund, the Netherlands Film Fund and a OCW project subsidy from VEVAM Fund.
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This is Sarina. She is 16. She lives in Iran. She speaks Farsi, English and French. She is a student and has just finished her exams. Let’s imagine the daily life of this smart and fashionable teenager. Sarina is not allowed to sing. Playing music and dancing in public is punishable by law. Having a pet dog is illegal and if you do have one, it will be taken away from you. Sarina has to wear whatever the government tells her to. And cover up from head to toe. She will be executed for being LGBTQ+. All the media, art, films and other creative or journalistic content is censored by the government. Internet is filtered and often taken down. Posting anything without a hijab will get her in prison. Sarina will get arrested if she goes on a date. If she practices any other religion than Islam she’s not allowed to go to college. She will be arrested if she drinks. Or if she’s at a party where there are boys. Even if it’s in the privacy of her own home. She is not allowed to ride a bike. If she speaks up against the government, she will be imprisoned, tortured or killed. She cant’ leave the country or stay at a hotel without the permission of a man.
Despite all this. Sarina loves painting, reading and has started vlogging this year. She has popular vlogs on YouTube on love, freedom, feminism and what teenagers love doing. As you know there has been a revolution going on in Iran. On September 22nd, after her English class ended at noon Sarina and some of her friends went to join the people’s protests to demonstrate peacefully for basic human rights. That afternoon Sarina got arrested and beaten to death by the regime’s security forces.
Since the beginning of the revolution, almost 2 months ago, more than 30 children have been killed by this regime. 7 year olds, 4 year olds, 10 year olds and 16 year olds like Sarina. It’s important to know that this is not Iran’s culture. Or Iran's heritage. Or Iran's history. This is not about religion either. This is a brutal, violent and dictatorial regime that has occupied Iran for the past 43 years. And all Iranian people want for a long time now is to get rid of this regime.
So If you have any power to write about this, make reports, artwork, films or talk to you politicians, the UN or anyone else that could make a difference… Please do so. Sarina and other grils and boys who are courageously still demonstrating in Iran right now despite this violence against them need us to help them stay safe and have a future where they can dance.
(This statement is part of Niki Padidar's speech at opening night IDFA on november 9th, 2022)