A Band of Dreamers and a Judge

In a mountainous region of northern Iran, a group of men in their forties are looking for a solution to their financial woes. Business is bad, the economy is in the doldrums, and they would leave if they could—but that would also cost money. The only thing they’ve got left is to seek treasures. This isn’t an entirely unrealistic idea in Iran, where thousands of years of history and gold coins lie waiting to be discovered in ancient tombs, catacombs and caves, even though treasure hunting is strictly prohibited.

Filmmaker Hesam Eslami joins this group of friends, and follows them in their daily lives as they seek happiness. They are constantly discussing their treasure hunting plans, pondering the ins and outs of dowsing rods, metal detectors and mini cameras to find that coveted pot of gold.

Meanwhile, the police are on the lookout for illegal excavations, and the friends are caught red-handed. Eslami tries to explain to the judge that the excavation is only an innocent means to make his film a success. “Diggers are dreamers,” he states. But then it turns out that the men have not been entirely honest with him. Will their dreams remain unfulfilled?


In release

About the Filmmakers


Hesam Eslami
Hesam Eslami

Hesam Eslami (b1982, Ahwaz, Iran) got his BFA and MA in cinema from Tehran University of Art. Hesam has studied with Abbas Kiarostami and Asghar Farhadi and is influenced by their cinematic style. Since 2009 he started to work as editor and director. Juvenile offenders and social damages are the main themes of his work. He is also the editor of the acclaimed feature film, mourning (2011). In 2017 he made his first feature-length documentary, 20th Circuit Suspects selected in 2017 Hot Docs FF among several other festivals. In 2020 his second documentary feature produced with Etienne de Ricaud and co-directed with Atieh Attarzadeh The Marriage Project was selected at Thessaloniki and Visions du Réel and 20 other festivals. Now Hesam is developing his third feature documentary which was one of the projects participating in Doc Station 2018 and also Close-UP initiative.


Etienne De Ricaud

Premieres & Awards

Official Selection

IDFA 2023

Official Selection

True/False Film Festival 2024

Festival Favourites

2024 Hot Docs