Maryam Keshavarz


Spring Artist in Residence


Maryam 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 2001, with a band of all girl crew and cast, Maryam directed her first experimental 16mm film, entitled Sanctuary. This surreal fantasy film about an Iranian woman in post-9/11 America traveled to several international festivals and landed Maryam the Steve Tisch fellowship to attend NYU’s graduate film program.

In 2003, Maryam drew on her experience growing up between Iran and the United States to direct her first feature documentary, The Color of Love. An intimate portrait of the changing landscape of love and politics in Iran, the documentary showed at international festivals such as Montreal World Film Fest, Full Frame Doc Fest, MoMA New York, It’s All True (Brazil), among others; it garnered top prizes such as the International Documentary Association’s David L. Wolper Award, Jury Award at DocuDays, and the Full Frame’s Spectrum Award. The Color of Love has been broadcast internationally, was released on DVD by Parlour Pictures, and was featured on Danny Devito’s Jersey Docs, a subsidiary of Morgan Freeman’s Clickstar.

In 2005, Maryam returned to Argentina, where she had studied Latin American literature at the University of Buenos Aires. There, she wrote and directed the visual essay The Day I Died about an adolescent love triangle in a sleepy Argentine seaside town. The Day I Died has shown in Main Competition at Mar del Plata, Clermont-Ferrand, New York Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival. 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. The film also won the Jury Prize at the Rio International Film Fest. The film is part of DVD compilation by Shooting People entitled BEST v BEST VOL. 2: AWARD WINNING SHORT FILMS 2006.

Combining her extensive documentary work on Iran with her delicate exploration of sexuality in her short narrative work, Maryam wrote and directed her first narrative feature fiction film entitled Circumstance. In the charged political climate of today’s Iran, Circumstance explores the complex relationship of two girls as they grapple with a volatile adolescence. The project was chosen to participate in Tribeca All Access, a competitive program which pairs minority directors with film industry representatives. With Circumstance, Maryam participated in the 2007 Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab a prestigious fellowship that annually selects six visionary directors to develop their feature film project. She is also the recipient of the first annual Sundance Institute/ Adrienne Shelly Foundation Women Filmmakers’ Grant, the Sundance Middle Eastern Filmmakers Award, the Annenberg Fellowship, the Ile de France and Fonds Sud Grant from the French government, and the Hubert Bals Development Grant from the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Circumstance is presently in postproduction.