Zal Batmanglij

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Zal Batmanglij
Zal Batmanglij by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Batmanglij at Wondercon 2012
Born (1981-04-28) April 28, 1981 (age 40)
Alma mater
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
Years active2011–present
Parent(s)Najmieh Batmanglij
RelativesRostam Batmanglij (brother)

Zal Batmanglij (Persian: زال باتمانقلیچ; born on April 27, 1981) is an American film director and screenwriter. He directed and co-wrote the 2011 film Sound of My Voice and the 2013 film The East, both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Netflix series The OA, which debuted in 2016.

Early life and education[edit]

Batmanglij was born in 1981 in France[1] to Iranian parents and grew up in Washington, D.C.. His mother, Najmieh Batmanglij, is a cookbook author; his father is a book publisher.[2] His younger brother Rostam was a founding member of the band Vampire Weekend. Both brothers are gay.[3]

Batmanglij studied anthropology and English at Georgetown University, graduating in 2002. At Georgetown he met Mike Cahill in a philosophy class. They took a screenwriting course together and co-directed a short film that won the Georgetown Film Festival. Brit Marling saw the film and asked if she could work with them.[4] Several years later, following Marling's graduation, the three friends moved to Los Angeles, California, where Batmanglij attended the AFI Conservatory.[5] For his thesis film, he made a 35mm short called The Recordist (2007), which starred Marling.[6]


In 2011, Batmanglij's debut feature, Sound of My Voice, co-written with Marling, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Shortly thereafter, Fox Searchlight Pictures purchased Sound of My Voice, as well as Batmanglij and Marling's next feature script, The East. Batmanglij also directed The East, starring Marling, Elliot Page, and Alexander Skarsgård. The film premiered at Sundance in 2013.

Batmanglij and Marling collaborated to create drama series The OA, which debuted in 2016 on Netflix. It was written by Marling and Batmanglij, who produced the series along with Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner of Plan B, and Michael Sugar of Anonymous Content.[7]



  • The Recordist (2007) – short film – writer, director
  • Sound of My Voice (2011) – feature directorial debut – co-writer, director
  • The East (2013) – co-writer, director


  • Wayward Pines, episodes "Our Town, Our Law", "One of Our Senior Realtors Has Chosen to Retire" (2015) – director
  • The OA (2016) – writer, director

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2012 Gotham Award Breakthrough Director Sound of My Voice Nominated
2013 Independent Spirit Award Best First Feature Sound of My Voice Nominated
2013 Traverse City Film Festival Founders Prize For Best Drama The East Won
2018 Writers Guild Award For drama episode "Homecoming" The OA Nominated


  1. ^ Wilson, Kate Asche (October 17, 2012). "5 Things You Need to Know about Sound of My Voice". On Demand Weekly. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  2. ^ Baron, Zach (May 24, 2013). "'The East' Is the New Film From Zal Batmanglij". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Baron, Zach (May 24, 2013). "A Trespasser Sneaks Up on Hollywood". The New York Times. Both brothers are gay, a realization that Mr. [Zal] Batmanglij said he found challenging and liberating...
  4. ^ Chang, Kee (April 26, 2012). "Q&A with Zal Batmanglij". Anthem Magazine. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  5. ^ Staff (December 3, 2010). "Alumni Featured in Sundance Film Festival Competition". Georgetown University. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  6. ^ Feldman, Dana (April 24, 2012). "Interviews with Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling and Christopher Denham of 'Sound of My Voice'". Beatweek Magazine. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  7. ^ "Netflix Greenlights 'The OA' Reuniting Brit Marling And Zal Batmanglij". Deadline. March 5, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015.

External links[edit]