SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant Winner
SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant 2010 winner
Dir. Maryam Keshavarz
Procuders: Karin Chien, Melissa M. Lee, Maryam Keshavarz
Awarded $50,000 for Post production Fall 2010
Against the backdrop of a reactionary Iranian government, Firouz Hakimi has fought to create a sanctuary in his home of music, art, and intellectual curiosity for his two children Atafeh and Mehran. Under the safety of her father's protection, Atafeh, and her best friend Shireen experiment with their emerging sexuality amidst a subculture of underground parties. But when Atafeh’s brother Mehran returns home from drug rehab, he renounces his former life with a vengeance. Mehran disapproves of his sister’s increasingly intimate relationship with Shireen. He installs surveillance cameras throughout the house and soon becomes obsessed with saving Shireen from his sister's influences. Mehran acts from his newfound religious devotion and political vigilance to sever the girls’ bond and make Shireen his wife. The once liberal haven of the family home is now a space of threat for Atafeh. Atafeh runs away to Dubai, which she soon learns is not the place of her teenage fantasies. As Atafeh struggles to survive on her own, Shireen finally tracks her down after two years of searching. Finally reunited, Atafeh and Shireen must now confront the truths of their altered desires and reversal of circumstance.
Maryam Keshavarz received her BA in Comparative Literature from Northwestern University, an MA in Near Eastern studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MFA in Film Direction from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. She was also a visiting scholar at the University of Shiraz, Department of Language and Literature. In 2003, Maryam drew on her experience growing up between Iran and the United States to direct the IDA-winning documentary, THE COLOR OF LOVE. In 2005, Maryam then went on to write and direct the visual essay, THE DAY I DIED about an adolescent love triangle in a sleepy Argentine seaside town. THE DAY I DIED was the only short film at Berlinale to win two awards: the Gold Teddy Best Short Film and the Jury Prize Special Mention. Maryam’s feature documentary PERSIAN FASHIONISTAS: A NEW GENERATION OF REVOLUTIONARIES, presently in late production, is the recipient of the 2007 Jerome Foundation Grant, the PBS/ITVS Diversity Development Fund, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam’s the JanVrijman Award, and a finalist for 2008 ITVS Production Grant. PERSIAN FASHIONISTAS explores how Iranian youth today are using fashion as a means of political protest.
"Stirringly sensual. Grade: A-" Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"Swirling and sensuous. Ripples with the indignant energy of youthful rebellion…it has undeniable topical resonance. Ms. Keshavarz's feature directorial debut revels in her own sense of freedom, constructing scenes that pulse with sexual energy...undeniable power and conviction." A.O. Scott, New York TImes
"Provocative and taboo-busting. Keshavarz is clearly willing to take risks on all fronts. More power to her. Kazemy and Boosheri are excellent." Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times