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'Circumstance' Slated for Late Summer Release: A groundbreaking, sensual film about youth in search of freedom in Iran

07/22/11 Source:

Los Angeles, CA, July 21, 2011 - Circumstance, the winner of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award, will be released in Los Angeles and New York on August 26, 2011 and in Chicago, San Francisco, and D.C. on September 9, 2011.

Circumstance, the winner of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award

Presented by Roadside Attractions and Participant Media, Circumstanceis set in contemporary Tehran, Iran in the unseen world of its youth culture, filled with underground parties, sex, drugs and defiance. Circumstance is the story of two vivacious young girls - wealthy Atafeh and orphaned Shireen - discovering their burgeoning sexuality and, like 16 year-old girls anywhere, struggling with their desires and the boundaries placed upon them by the world in which they were born.

Filmed in an undercover production in Beirut, Lebanon, Circumstance is written and directed by Maryam Keshavarz and stars newcomers Nikohl Boosheri, Sarah Kazemy, Reza Sixo Safai, Soheil Parsa, Nasrin Pakkho, Amir Barghashi, Fariborz Daftari and Keon Mohajeri.

As part of Participant Media’s social action campaign, which focuses on building awareness and encouraging social action, special screenings of Circumstance followed by panels discussing the movie and related socio-political issues in Iran, will take place as follows:

Circumstance, the winner of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award

Details on locations and times of the above listed special screenings and panels will be publicized, once available. 

Circumstance will also be screened as the centerpiece of the Noor Iranian Film Festival, on August 6, 2011.  More info available at

Press screenings available in select cities. Media inquiries welcome.

To view the trailer and more information, visit the film’s official website at:


MARYAM KESHAVARZ (Director/Writer/Producer) received her MFA from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts and has been making award-winning films for 10 years. Her first feature documentary, The Color Of Love, an intimate portrait of the changing landscape of love and politics in Iran, won numerous awards at top-tier festivals and was broadcast internationally. Her short film The Day I Died garnered top accolades at Mar del Plata, Clermont-Ferrand, New York Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival; and was the only short film at Berlinale to win two awards: the Gold Teddy and the Jury Prize. Keshavarz's first narrative feature fiction film, CIRCUMSTANCE has garnered various prestigious accolades including: selection to the Sundance Screenwriters/ Directors Lab and Tribeca All Access; receipt of the Adrienne Shelly Grant, the Sundance Middle Eastern Filmmakers Award, Rotterdam's Hubert Bals Grant, France's Fonds Sud Grant; as well as financial support from Cinereach, Film Independent, and the San Francisco Film Society. CIRCUMSTANCE made its World Premiere in American Dramatic Competition at the 2011 Sundance Festival to overwhelming critical acclaim and won the coveted Audience Award.


NIKOHL BOOSHERI (Atafeh) may be a newcomer to the world of film but she is no stranger to the stage. Emigrating from Iran to Canada at a mere three months old, she showed a flare for the dramatics even at a young age. Upon entering high school she committed herself to Gleneagle Secondary's challenging and rewarding Broken Wing Theatre, being granted the Gold Achievement award every year, and continued to develop her skills studying Performing Arts at Simon Fraser University. She has appeared in an impressive 27 plays, her resume showing an extensive list of characters including; Madge in William Inge's classic Picnic, Fay in Don Nigro's Greenman, Lady in Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending, Marcy in Bert V. Royal's Dog Sees God, and most recently Slim in a very well received run of Sarah Dixon's original show The Dark at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Nikohl's love and dedication for her craft and a twist of fate have brought her an opportunity to enter the previously unexplored world of film. She is delighted and humbled to make her debut with the talented and lovely cast of Maryam Keshavarz's CIRCUMSTANCE.


SARAH KAZEMY (Shireen) is a French actress, born in 1987 in Neuilly sur Seine (a suburb of Paris), the daughter of an Iranian father and a French mother of Algerian descent. With her diverse background she has professed an interest in foreign languages and cultures since childhood. She speaks fluently French, Farsi and English and has studied Arabic, German and Italian. Sarah felt the need to pursue her education before starting an acting career, studying contemporary literature and law. She received no formal acting training before making her film debut in CIRCUMSTANCE. Right after that she landed the lead role in the movie Kanyamakan.

REZA SIXO SAFAI (Mehran) grew up in Palo Alto, CA and later attended UCLA where he was awarded the National Actor's Theatre Fellowship Award for acting. On stage both in LA and NY, he has worked with such diverse talents as Peter Sellars, John C. Reilly, Ann Magnusson, David Schweizer, Martin Sherman, Heather Woodbury and Susan Tyrell. His many credits include Louis in Angels in America, Sahtin in The Lower Depths, Yasha in The Cherry Orchard, Patrick in The Kentucky Cycle and Lee in True West. Reza also wrote and starred in Transplant, a critically acclaimed one-person show about the Iranian James Bond. In addition to being a board member of the non-profit multi-disciplinary arts organization Trade City, he is currently co-producing with the Tony award-winning producers of A Raisin in the Sun, the Broadway world premiere of Tennessee Williams' last unpublished play.  He continues to be a key actor in indie films as well, including Push, Dean Quixote, Amp and F-Stops. His short film The Mario Valdez Story, which he wrote, directed and starred in won 2nd prize at Cannes. Safai's debut feature, Sabotage, inspired by The Beastie Boys and Spike Jonze music video for "Sabotage" is the first ever action-comedy/music-documentary and features DJ Assault ("Ass n' Titties") and Kennedy ("Lovin' Your Mama"). On the small screen, Reza was last seen on "Undercovers" and "The Mentalist." Reza currently lives in Los Angeles with his sweetheart Hollace.

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