Maryam Keshavarz

Writer/ Director

While pursuing her MFA at NYU/ Tisch, Maryam’s short film The Day I Died won the Gold Teddy and Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Fest and her feature documentary, The Color of Love, won Full Frame’s Spectrum Award and IDA’s David Wolper Award and was broadcast internationally. Maryam developed her first narrative feature, Circumstance at the Sundance Institute’s Writers & Directors Lab, Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access, and Film Independent’s Producer’s Labs. 

In 2011, Circumstance premiered to critical acclaim and won the coveted Sundance Audience Award and a dozen international awards including Best First Film at the Rome Film Festival and the Audience & Best Actress Awards at Outfest.  Described by the New York Times as “Swirling and sensuous” and by Wall Street Journal as “Supremely cinematic,” Circumstance was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and Maryam was included in’s “Directors to Watch”. The film was theatrically released in North America by Participant & Roadside Attractions and released internationally in over a dozen countries. 

Maryam recently completed her sophomore feature Viper Club starring Susan Sarandon, the film is the first original film financed by YouTube. Viper Club will have its world premiere as a Special Presentation at the Toronto Film Festival in September and Roadside Attractions will theatrically release the film in the United States on October 26th. Maryam recently sold series to BBC America and FX. 

She is also in development on several projects including The Dissent a political thriller exposing the intrusion of the FBI into the judicial system, based on the award winning HBO doc Hot Coffee, Persian Version a comedy about an Iranian-American girl growing up with seven brothers and one bathroom in NYC, The Last Harem exploring the love affair of a cross dressing musician and a newly appointed boy-king in 19th century Persia, Transfiguration a mother-daughter musical drama about contemporary musician Gingger Shankar and her mother who toured with The Beatles, and 2030, a near-future dystopian thriller about a young Muslim woman trying to survive in America after a right wing take over, and being forced to join the resistance.

Artist's Chosen Interview:
Maryam Keshavarz: 'In Iran, Anything Illegal Becomes Politically Subversive'

Artist's Work:
Circumstance (2011) 

Inspirational Resources/Recommendations: 

  • Directors I Admire: Claire Denis, Lucrecia Martel, Margarethe von Trotta, Mira Nair, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Laura Pointras, Ang Lee
  • Films I Love: Memories of Underdevelopment, Once Upon a Time in America, Head-On (Turkish), Manchurian Candidate, Z, Bleu, Before Night Falls, All About My Mother, Eat Drink Man Woman, Beau Travail, Dog Day Afternoon, La Cienaga, Double Life of Veronique
  • Great Resources: Film independent, Sundance Institute, Women in Film, IFP, Tribeca Film Institute, Women in Film, Yaddo Artist Residency, Cine Qua Non Lab 
  • Advice: If you love a film, always check the credits. See who produced it, the creative team, and what funding they may have won.