New York, United States
|Alma mater||NYU- Tisch School of the Arts- MFA Film Direction
University of Michigan, Masters of Arts
Northwestern University, BA
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter|
Maryam Keshavarz (Persian: مریم کشاورز) is an Iranian-American filmmaker best known for her 2011 film Circumstance distributed by Participant Media and Roadside Attractions, which won the Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival.
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.
Maryam’s first narrative feature fiction film, CIRCUMSTANCE premiered to overwhelming critical acclaim at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, garnering the coveted Sundance Audience Award, leading to Maryam’s inclusion in Deadline.com’s 2011 Director’s to Watch. CIRCUMSTANCE has won over a dozen international awards including Best First Film at the Rome Film Festival and the Audience & Best Actress Awards at Outfest. The Independent Spirit Award nominated film was described by the New York Times as “Swirling and sensuous”, by the Wall Street Journal as “Supremely cinematic”, and by the Hollywood Reporter as “Amazingly accomplished.” The film released theatrically in over a dozen countries in 2012.
Most recently, Maryam’s newest film project THE LAST HAREM won the prestigious Hearst Screenwriters Grant and the San Francisco Film Society/ KRF Screenwriting Award, while her museum installation work entitled BETWEEN SIGHT AND DESIRE: IMAGINING THE MUSLIM WOMAN won a multi-year grant from the Creative Capital Fund. Maryam has also been tapped to co-write and direct the narrative adaptation of the award winning HBO documentary HOT COFFEE.
Maryam is alumni of the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab, Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access Program. She is the recipient of dozens of grants and fellowships including the French Government’s Fonds Sud, Rotterdam Film Festivals’ Hubert Bals Award, Women in Film’s Grant, Adrienne Shelley Award, numerous Sundance fellowships, and multiple San Francisco Film Society grants. She has been a visiting artist at the University of Pennsylvania and guest lecturer at dozens of prestigious international universities. She is an active member of Film Independent serving as a mentor for their Project Involve Initiative and speaking on numerous filmmaking panels.
Keshavarz is bisexual. When living in Iran, Keshavarz was in contact to limited group of people and that's why many in Iran criticize her of describing a culture with which she has slight acquaintance. 
Filmography and awards
|2003||The Color of Love (رنگ عشق)||International Documentary Association - David L. Wolper Award
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival - Spectrum Award
|2006||Not for Sale|
|2006||The Day I Died ("El día que morí")||Berlin International Film Festival - Gold Teddy Best Short Film & Jury Prize Special Mention
Rio International Film Festival - Jury Award
|2011||Circumstance||2011 Sundance Film Festival - Audience Award
2011 Noor Iranian Film Festival - Audience Favorite Award
2011 Noor Iranian Film Festival - Best Director
2011 Outfest - Audience Award
2011 Rome International Film Festival - Best First Film
2011 New Directors New Films - Closing Night Film
2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards - John Cassavetes Award Nominee
- Olsen, Mark (2011-08-28). "Young Iran seen through 'Circumstance' and its cosmopolitan crew: Indie Focus - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- Homa Khaleeli (2012-08-23). "Maryam Keshavarz: 'In Iran, anything illegal becomes politically subversive' | Film". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- Shahghasemi, E. (2012). A Review on "Circumstance" by Maryam Keshavarz. Personal URL
- Maryam Keshavarz at the Internet Movie Database
- Keshavarz at Stardustbrands
- نقدی بر فیلم شرایط ساخته مریم کشاورز A Review on “Circumstance” by Maryam Keshavarz
- Advocate - State of Affairs
- - In Movies by Iranians, a Feminist Streak
- The Bay Area Reporter - Iranian Youth Culture Flowers in 'Circumstance'
- The Boston Globe - 'Circumstance': A Forbidden Love Story
- The Boston Herald - Film Reveals 'Circumstance' of gays in Iran
- College Movie Review
- The Daily Beast - Iran's Controversial New Lesbian Film
- Daily Candy - 9 Film You Should Seek Out
- Deadline Hollywood - Sundance: 2011 Film Directors to Watch
- The Feminist Spectator - 'Circumstance'
- Feminema - To Be Young, Gifted, & Living Under Patriarchy: 'Circumstance (2011)'
- The Globe and Mail - "Circumstance': A Glimpse of the Miniskirts Under the Chadors
- The Guardian (UK) - Maryam Keshavarz: 'In Iran, anything illegal becomes politically subversive'
- Huff Post Culture - 'Circumstance' and Dangerous Elicitations of Truth
- Huff Post Entertainment - Parties and Promiscuity In a Police State
- IndieWire - Critical Consensus: Iran-Set Drama 'Circumstance' is The Pick of the Week
- IndieWire 2 - Love and Risk in Iran: Circumstance Written and Directed by Maryam Keshavarz
- IndieWire 3 - 'Circumstance's' Maryam Keshavarz Faces Threats, Fears DVD Release
- Interview - Dubbing SATC in Tehran
- Killer Movie Reviews - 'Circumstance' Lines of Discontent in Iran's Cultural Landscape
- The New York Times - Living and Loving Underground in Iran
Maryam Keshavarz's 'Circumstance' Tackles Irian Taboos]
review: Fast Times in Islamic State]
- ScreenCrave.com - Sundance 2011: 'Circumstance' Movie Review
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch - 'Circumstance' Looks Inside Iranian Youth Culture
- The Salt Lake Tribune - Sundance review: 'Circumstance'
- USA TODAY - In 'Circumstance,' A sexual awakening in Iran
- W Magazine - Nikohl Boosheri & Sarah Kazemy: The Provocative Screen Debut by Two Iranian Actresses
- The Washington Post - 'Circumstance': Forbidden Love in Today's Iran