where we used to swim


Lake Urmia in Northern Iran was once the largest lake in the Middle East. But human influence set its course, and brought upon a devastating drought that the lake could not withstand. Today, just 5% of the original lake remains. The majority of the land is now barren and covered by salt. This cinematic essay observes the places of present and past, and weaves a new narration with fragments of identity and memory.


“Sustainability Award” at 26. Kurzfilmwoche Regensburg


62. DOK Leipzig, Germany, 2019
13. KFFK Cologne, Germany, 2019
39. Munich Filmschool Fest, Germany, 2019
26. Internationale Kurzfilmwoche Regensburg, Germany, 2020
12. GO SHORT – ISFF Nijmegen, Netherlands, 2020
17. Vienna Shorts, Austria, 2020
35. DOK.fest Munich, Germany, 2020
13. Leiden Shortfilm Festival, Netherlands, 2020
21. KUK Kurzfilmtage Schweinfurt, Germany, 2020
40. Odense Shortfilm Festival, Denmark, 2020
49. Sehsüchte Berlin, Germany, 2020
36. Kurzfilmfestival Hamburg, Germany, 2020

part of german films NEXT GENERATION selection which premiered at Festival de Cannes 2020


“The dried tears of Lake Urmia in northern Iran are for sale – salt in plastic bags at the roadside. Once the biggest lake in the Middle East, only a fraction of it is left today. This is its elegy, presenting both its former splendour and its state today. Wavering between factuality and melancholy, the film finally opts for a pessimistic view of society. The dying lake becomes a symbol.”
-Carolin Weidner


“A salt desert as a starting point for reflection on the past and visibility. An essayistic observation, memory work and political appeal. The different sources of images are arranged sensitively and confidently. The camera impresses with excellently composed, emphatic images that are elegantly mounted and set to music. A monumental memorial to the disappearance of Lake Urmia, once the largest lake in Iran, which today measures only 5% of its original size.”
-Jury Statement “Kurzfilmwoche Regensburg”


a Daniel Asadi Faezi Production
producer, director, dop | Daniel Asadi Faezi
assistant director | Mehrdad Dehghani, Bani Moradi
editor | Narges Kalhor
narrator | Dariush Gigloo
sounddesign | Andrew Mottl
color grading | Nicholas Coleman
2019 | Germany | 8 minutes | Documentary | Azerbaijani with english subtitles