Amin Maher

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Amina Maher
امین ماهر
AminaMaher CCMeretMadoerin.jpg
Maher in 2021
Born (1992-03-05) March 5, 1992 (age 29)
OccupationDirector, filmmaker, actress, film editor

Amina Maher (Persian: امین ماهر‎ , born as Amin Maher in 1992 in Tehran, Iran) is an Iranian queer artist, filmmaker and poet whose works deal with the themes of social taboos and gender-identity in relation to violence and power structure.[1]


Amina Maher began her cinematic activity as one of the main actors in Abbas Kiarostami’s Ten which featured the real-life relationship between Amina and her mother.[2] Her first short film was Sweet Gin and Cold Wine, followed by Orange. Her debut short film, Letter to my mother, was well received internationally with more than 50 nominations at int. film festivals such as 36th Kasseler Dokfest, 35th Lovers Film Festival - Torino LGBTQI Visions,[3] 15th Shorts México[4] and Chéries-Chéris (Festival du Film Lesbien, Gay, Bi, Trans & ++++ de Paris).[5] The film is about her own experience of childhood sexual abuse. Among numerous criticisms, the film was described as a means for survival, a way to stand up and to understand – a fearless and strong examination that touches upon the center of the pain and dares to look precisely.[6] Letter to my mother received more than 10 International Awards such as the Audience Award and the Special Jury Prize at 23rd Indie Memphis Film Festival, USA.[7] Maher currently studies her MA in directing at Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg.

Letter to my mother[edit]

The film is self-produced, directed, written, performed and distributed. The film has evoked wider social debate, highlighting the need and benefit of survivors and communities being able to speak openly about their own experiences of sexual assault and harassments.[citation needed]

Letter to my mother won numerous awards and nominations and had been part of the program of international film festivals over 25 countries such as 34th Mix Milano Film Festival in Italy, 19th Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival in Spain,[8] and 27th Blue Sea Film Festival in Finland. The film won several awards including the special jury prize at 15th Shorts México,[9] the best short documentary on Human Right at Venice Intercultural Film Festival[10] and Award of Recognition at Impact Docs Award.[11]

For Maher, art is the best alternative to revenge as she says it in her interview with Dutch Culture.[12] This is how essays on political body at 22nd Belo Horizonte International Film Festival has described the film: In Letter to my mother, Amina Maher conceives a complex montage assembling autobiographical report, epistolary language, archives and performance. The filmmaker goes through archives of her own therapy sessions and images from the movie, Ten (2002), in which she participated when she was a child, in search of the creation of an autonomous body, one not defined by abuse. One that is free from restraint.[13]

Within the multifarious strands of filmmaking practice, her filmmaking uses trauma therapy as a theme and it is characterized by a few key factors: its autoethnographic approach, a desire for an honest self-examination, and a play with notions of cinema, reality and life. As the direct victim of abuse, she felt able to give an insight into an experience that is impossible to imagine.[14]

#MeToo movement in Iran and Interview with Iran International[edit]

In November 2019, Amina Maher finished her debut short film, Letter to my mother which is stemming from her own experience of childhood sexual abuse. On 25 August, the Persian TV channel, Iran International interviewed Amina Maher where she came forward publicly that a family member was raping her over a four years period. This interview also became her coming out as a queer transgender for Iranian audience, which was followed by large numbers of homophobic comments, haters, and attacks in social media. Amina's appearance rarely had been seen in TV before. She wore make up, a pink dress and bra while the viewers could see her hairy chest. This interview opened up a discourse on the topic of queer rights.[citation needed]

Life and other activities[edit]

When Amina was a child, her real-life relationship with her mother, Mania Akbari was featured in the movie, Ten. Four years after that, Maher performed the main role in Mania Akbari's 10+4, a continuation of the movie “Ten” which followed Akbari's battle with breast cancer.[15] "10+4" screened at Cannes International Film Festival and San Sebastián International Film Festival amongst many other festivals and received critical praise.[16] Afterwards, Maher followed her film activities as an actress, editor and assistant director with her mother, Mania Akbari on "6 Video Arts" [17] and "From Tehran to London".[18]

In 2010, Maher began studying at Tehran University. Two months later she was arrested due to her political activities and for attending the Student Day demonstration. She subsequently left Iran to study filmmaking at Limkokwing University in Malaysia and directed several short films. Her first fictional short film, “Sweet Gin and Cold Wine" was nominated for the best short film at the 21st Oldenburg International Film Festival in Germany [19] and won an award of recognition at the Creative Open International Film Festival (IOFF) in 2016.[20]

In November 2019, Maher finished her documentary film, "Letter to my mother" which is stemming from her own experience of childhood sexual abuse.[21] The film opens up a cinematic discourse about anger, repression, violence and identity. Letter to my mother was described as a fearless and strong examination that chooses a radically intimate perspective. It is an examination that touches upon the center of the pain and dares to look precisely. It finds exact scenes for despair and cruelty and searches openly for ways of coping.[22]

In 2019, Maher edited the feature documentary film, "A moon for my father" directed by Mania Akbari and Douglas White. In her interview, Maher has said that this will be the last collaboration with her mother, Mania Akbari sitting on a director chair, as from now on she is the reckless driver. Meaning after this film, they collaborate only when Maher is a director. Some film critics have said that the title of Maher's film, Letter to my mother alludes his mother's film titled, "A moon for my father".[citation needed]


As an actress/actor[edit]

  • Ten (2002)
  • Repression (2004) (Video Art)
  • Escape (2004) (Video Art)
  • 10 + 4 (2007)
  • Sweet Gin and Cold Wine (2014)
  • Orange (2015)
  • One Window Will Suffice (2016)

As a director[edit]

  • Sweet Gin and Cold Wine (2014)
  • Orange (2015)
  • One Window Will Suffice (2016)
  • Letter to my Mother (2019)

As an Editor[edit]

  • Letter to my mother (2019)
  • A Moon for my Father (2020)


  • Start counting from eleven (Poem, 2013)


  1. ^ Amin Maher, Biography
  2. ^ Ten (2002 film)
  3. ^ Letter to my mother at 35th Lovers Film Festival
  4. ^ Special Jury Prize for the film Letter to my mother
  5. ^
  6. ^ Letter to my mother at 36th Kassel Documentary Film Festival
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Letter to my mother wins the best short Doc on Human Rights
  11. ^ Letter to my mother wins awards of recognition
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Movie 10+4". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  16. ^ "10+4 in Cannes international film festival, L'ACID section". Archived from the original on 2017-08-20. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  17. ^ 6 Video Arts, 2007
  18. ^ "Amin Maher, Assistant director of "From Tehran to London"". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  19. ^ ""Sweet Gin and Cold Wine" by Amin Maher at Oldenburg international film festival". Archived from the original on 2016-07-01. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  21. ^ Letter to my mother wins the best short Documentary at Indiex Film Fest
  22. ^ Letter to my mother at 36th Kassel Documentary Film Festival

External links[edit]