|Born||Robert Caveh Zahedi
April 29, 1960
Washington, D.C., United States
|Spouse(s)||Amanda Field (2003–present)
Suzanne Smith (divorced)
Zahedi was born in Washington, D.C., to Iranian immigrant parents. He studied philosophy at Yale University. Upon graduation, Zahedi moved to Paris, France to find funding for his films, but failed to interest any French producers in his projects about Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Eadweard Muybridge. He also estranged himself from his idol, Jean-Luc Godard, after calling him at 3 a.m. He also produced an experimental music video of a Talking Heads song, which was rejected by David Byrne.
Zahedi subsequently returned to Los Angeles to attend UCLA film school. In the UCLA graduate program he completed his first feature film, A Little Stiff (1991), with fellow student Greg Watkins. The film was an experimental narrative in which he re‑enacted his unrequited love for a UCLA art student, using real-life participants. A Little Stiff premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim, but did not bring commercial success.
His next feature film, I Don't Hate Las Vegas Anymore (1994), documented his attempt to bond with his estranged father and half-brother on a road trip to Las Vegas. The film generated criticism after Zahedi insisted that his father and brother take the drug Ecstasy with him on film.
In 1998 Zahedi moved to San Francisco, where he made his next feature, In the Bathtub of the World (2001). The film was a year-long video diary, with the premise of recording one minute every day for an entire year, and editing the footage down to 90 minutes. The film premiered on the Independent Film Channel. In 2001 Zahedi made Tripping with Caveh, a 30‑minute film of a mushroom trip with singer-songwriter Will Oldham (also known as Bonnie "Prince" Billy).
In 2005 Caveh's film, I Am A Sex Addict, which took fifteen years to make due to financial and production difficulties, was released. Through re‑enactments, the film recounted Zahedi's struggle with his addiction to prostitutes and the havoc it wreaked on his marriages and romantic relationships. When the completed project was rejected by Sundance, Zahedi tried to distribute the film himself. It was only after he won the Gotham Award, for "Best Film Not Playing in a Theater Near You", that IFC Films picked up the film. Since that time, Zahedi has made several short films, including "Dada", published by Focus Features, and "The Unmaking of I Am a Sex Addict," released on the DVD magazine Wholphin.
Zahedi has also appeared in several films in acting roles, including Alexander Payne's Citizen Ruth, Greg Watkins' A Sign From God, Richard Linklater's Waking Life, and Registered Sex Offender. In September 2009 Zahedi had a role in the small film Unlimited Dreamtime - A 2 Week Film. Zahedi also teaches film classes at The New School in New York.
- 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship
- 2005 Gotham Awards "Best Film Not Playing in a Theater Near You"
- 2008 Rome Prize
- Megan Milks (April 9, 2002). "Zahedi welcomes C-ville to his 'World'". The Cavalier Daily. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- Neva Chonin (April 3, 2006). "Success hurts -- at least where filmmaker, ex-sex addict Caveh Zahedi is concerned". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- "Indie Babies: Caveh Zahedi's Dada
- "Wholphin No. 9"
- "Meet the 2012 SXSW Filmmakers #13: Caveh Zahedi, 'The Sheik and I'"
- "A Film Angers an Emirate Festival"
- Unlimited Dreamtime: official blog.