Desiree Akhavan

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Desiree Akhavan
Born 1984 (age 33–34)
New York City, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater
  • Director
  • screenwriter
Years active 2010–present

Desiree Akhavan (1984)[1] is an American film director, producer, screenwriter and actress based in New York. She is best known for her 2014 feature film debut, Appropriate Behavior,[2][3] and her 2018 film The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

Early life and education[edit]

Akhavan was born in New York City in 1984. Both of Akhavan's parents immigrated to the United States following the Iranian Revolution in 1979; Akhavan has stated in interviews that they now identify as American. Her father has not returned to Iran since the 1980s,[4] though Akhavan occasionally visited family overseas as a child.[5] As a child, Akhavan lived in New Jersey before her family moved to Rockland, New York. As a commuting student, Akhavan attended the Horace Mann School, an independent prep school in the Bronx, for her high school years. During this period of time, Akhavan struggled with feelings of loneliness: "My life was in New York City but I would sleep in the suburbs and I didn’t know anyone there. I didn’t have friends and I didn’t have a life, other than watching television and movies."

Akhavan has attributed her first experiences with American culture through watching TV shows and films.[6] She began writing plays when she was 10 years old and began acting in plays at 13 years old.[7][8]

Akhavan studied Film and Theatre at Smith College, a women’s college in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she was "a bit of a loner".[9] After graduating in 2007, she studied film directing as a graduate student at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She also spent a year studying abroad at Queen Mary, University of London.[2][8][10]


Akhavan made her first short film Two Drink Minimum while studying in London as a graduate student.[11] In 2010, she wrote and directed the short film Nose Job.

Akhavan has regularly appeared in her own work since after writing, directing, and acting in the lesbian-themed web series The Slope.,[2][12][13] for which she and Ingrid Jungermann, her creative partner, were named to Filmmaker's 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2012.[14] The series premiered in 2011.[14]

She plays a writing student in Season 4 of Girls. The role was offered to her after Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner saw her film Appropriate Behaviour.[15]

In 2014, Akhavan’s film Appropriate Behavior, in which she plays an alternative version of herself, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.[7] The film was first written as her senior thesis paper as a graduate student at New York University.[11] Although it is inspired by personal events in Akahvan's life, such as the break up of her first lesbian relationship,[5] she has asserted that the film is not autobiographical.[6] That year, she was also selected for the Sundance Institute’s Episodic Story Lab for her pilot script Switch Hitter.[16]

She has stated she drawn inspiration from people such as Woody Allen, Todd Solondz, and Noah Baumbach.[11]

Channel 4 commissioned a sitcom called The Bisexual to be written, directed by and starring Akhavan.[17]

In November 2016, it was announced Akhavan would write, direct and produce The Miseducation of Cameron Post, starring Chloë Grace Moretz, and Sasha Lane.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Akhavan identifies herself as a bisexual woman and a Brooklynite.[9][19] She has a brother who is a paediatric urologist.[5]



Year Title Director Writer Producer Role References
2014 Appropriate Behavior Yes Yes No Shirin
2017 Creep 2 No No No Sara
2018 The Miseducation of Cameron Post Yes Yes No


Year Title Role Notes
2015 Girls Chandra 3 episodes
2016-18 Flowers Carol 5 episodes
2016 The Circuit[20][21] Angie TV pilot
2018 The Bisexual Leila 6 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
2010–2012 The Slope[13] Desiree Also director, writer and producer

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Reference
2014 Independent Spirit Award Best Debut Script Appropriate Behavior Nominated [6]
San Diego Asian Film Festival Grand Jury Award Won [22]
2018 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award for US Drama The Miseducation of Cameron Post Won [23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Appropriate Behavior's Desiree Akhavan: Just Your Average Iranian, Bisexual, Mel Brooks-Loving Breakthrough Filmmaker". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2015-04-27.
  2. ^ a b c "Sundance: Why Desiree Akhavan Could be the Next Lena Dunham". Variety, January 18, 2014.
  3. ^ "Exclusive: Clip From Sundance Film 'Appropriate Behavior,' Writer/Director/Star Desiree Akhavan Talks Sex Scenes & More". Indiewire, January 15, 2014.
  4. ^ Freeman, Hadley. "Desiree Akhavan on Appropriate Behaviour and not being the 'Iranian bisexual Lena Dunham'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  5. ^ a b c "'I'm not the new Lena Dunham': Desiree Akhavan on her new film". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  6. ^ a b c "Desiree Akhavan on Appropriate Behaviour and not being the 'Iranian bisexual Lena Dunham'". The Guardian. March 5, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "10 Questions for Filmmaker Desiree Akhavan". The Arts Desk. 2015-03-03. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  8. ^ a b "Desiree Akhavan & Ira Sachs: 'Seeing an out person living the kind of life I wanted made me want to emulate it'". The Independent. March 8, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Valentini, Valentina. "Appropriate Behavior's Desiree Akhavan: Just Your Average Iranian, Bisexual, Mel Brooks-Loving Breakthrough Filmmaker". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  10. ^ QMUL. "Graduate's 'Iranian-American bisexual comedy' premieres at London Film Festival". QMUL. QMUL. Retrieved 2015-01-12.
  11. ^ a b c "'I'm not the new Lena Dunham': Desiree Akhavan on her new film Appropriate Behaviour and why she is different from the 'Girls' star". March 6, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  12. ^ "Meet Sundance breakout Desiree Akhavan, the next Lena Dunham". New York Post, January 20, 2014.
  13. ^ a b The Slope on Vimeo
  14. ^ a b "Desiree Akhavan and Ingrid Jungermann | Filmmaker Magazine". 2012. Retrieved 2015-04-27.
  15. ^ "Appropriate Behaviour director Desiree Akhavan on diversity in film and being an outsider". March 5, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  16. ^ "SUNDANCE INSTITUTE SELECTS 10 WRITERS FOR INAUGURAL EPISODIC STORY LAB". September 16, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  17. ^ "Bisexual sitcom coming to Channel 4". August 24, 2016.
  18. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (November 18, 2016). "Chloe Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane to Star in Gay Conversion Drama 'The Miseducation of Cameron Post". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  19. ^ "Iranian-American Filmmaker Breaks Out Of Boxes, Into The Box Office". Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  20. ^ Channel 4 announces new comedy pilot The Circuit - Channel 4 - Info - Press
  21. ^ The Circuit review: Pulling's creators take aim at the dinner party - Television & radio - The Guardian
  22. ^ "2014 SDAFF winners announced!". November 9, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  23. ^ Olsen, Mark (January 27, 2018). "The Miseducation of Cameron Post". Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]