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Desiree Akhavan (born December 27, 1984)[1] is an American film director, producer, screenwriter and actress based in the United Kingdom.[2] She was born in New York City.[3] She is best known for her 2014 feature film debut Appropriate Behavior,[4][5] and her 2018 film The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

Desiree Akhavan
Desiree Akhavan 2015-05-24.png
Born (1984-12-27) December 27, 1984 (age 34)
NationalityAmerican
Alma mater
Occupation
  • Filmmaker
  • actress
  • writer
Years active2010–present

Contents

Early life and educationEdit

Akhavan was born in New York City in 1984. Both of Akhavan's parents fled 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,[6] though Akhavan occasionally visited family overseas as a child.[7] 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.[8] She began writing plays when she was 10 years old and began acting in plays at 13 years old.[9][10]

Akhavan studied Film and Theatre at Smith College, a women's college in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she was "a bit of a loner".[11] 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.[4][10][12]

CareerEdit

Akhavan made her first short film Two Drink Minimum while studying in London as a graduate student.[13] In 2010, she wrote and directed the short film Nose Job.

Akhavan has regularly appeared in her own work following her writing, directing, and acting in the lesbian-themed web series The Slope.[4][14][15] She and Ingrid Jungermann, her creative partner, were named to Filmmaker's 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2012.[16] The series premiered in 2011.[16]

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.[17]

In 2014, Akhavan's film Appropriate Behavior, in which she plays an alternative version of herself, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.[9] The film was first written as her senior thesis paper as a graduate student at New York University.[13] Although it is inspired by personal events in Akahvan's life, such as the break up of her first lesbian relationship,[7] she has asserted that the film is not autobiographical.[8] That year, she was also selected for the Sundance Institute's Episodic Story Lab for her pilot script Switch Hitter.[18]

In 2015, Akhanvan was the President of the Queer Palm jury at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[19]

She has stated she draws inspiration from people such as Woody Allen, Todd Solondz, and Noah Baumbach.[13]

Channel 4 commissioned a sitcom called The Bisexual to be written, directed by and starring Akhavan.[20] It aired on October 10, 2018 in the U.K. and on November 16, 2018 in the U.S.[21] The sitcom explores misconceptions of bisexuality. In an interview with UK's Bazaar, she said, "To me that was the perfect way to handle bisexuality, through the lens of a lesbian."[22]

In November 2016, it was announced Akhavan would write, direct and produce The Miseducation of Cameron Post, starring Chloë Grace Moretz, and Sasha Lane.[23] The critically acclaimed film was officially selected for the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Toronto LGBT Film Festival, San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, Outfest, and the San Francisco Indie Film Festival, earning multiple nominations and awards.[24]

On November 17, 2018, Akhanvan attended the Vulture Festival, speaking at a sit-down conversation alongside actresses Chloë Grace Moretz and Tatum O’Neal to discuss working in the film industry.[25]

Currently, Akhanvan is working on a memoir, Late Bloomer, a collection of personal essays, to be published in 2020.[26]

In the same interview, Akhavan talks about her struggles as a female filmmakers in Late Bloomer, and she refers to herself as an “unattractive," “lonely,” and “very awkward teenage.”[22]

ActivismEdit

Desiree Akhavan is an activist in advocating the LGBTQ culture in film industry. When she pitched the The Bisexual to the Hollywood in 2015, she was rejected by all the networks in LA. In her interview with Bazaar magazine, she said, “I was rejected everywhere.”[27]

Akhavan later expressed her feelings to the rejection by saying, “because Americans are terrified of female sexuality,” in her Twitter.[27]

Her work has put the queer female stories forefront among the other male-lead stories, such as in her films The Miseducation of Cameron Post, The Bisexual, and Appropriate Behaviour.[28]

When Akhavan was asked about the future of queer TV in her interview with Bazaar, she said, “There’s less of a separatist feeling the way we had at the time The L Word was being produced, so I think more queer subject matter is inching its way into mainstream television.”[22]

Personal lifeEdit

Akhavan identifies herself as a bisexual woman and a Brooklynite.[11][29] She often explores her bisexuality within her work.[27] She currently lives in Hackney, Inner London, United Kingdom.[30] She has a brother who is a urologist.[7]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Director Writer Producer Role Notes Ref(s)
2009 The Feast of Stephen Second assistant director; short film
2010 Nose Job Yes Yes No Short film
2010 Ankur Assistant director; short film
2010 Yardsale Assistant director; short film
2010 Phishing Sound mixer; short film
2011 Lena dhe Unë Assistant director; short film
2011 Her Seat is Vacant Production manager; short film
2013 All Her Notebooks Assistant director; short film
2013 My Mom and Other Monsters Production manager; short film
2014 Appropriate Behavior Yes Yes No Shirin Also director and writer; feature directorial debut
2017 Creep 2 No No No Sara
2018 The Miseducation of Cameron Post Yes Yes No

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes Ref(s)
2015 Girls Chandra 3 episodes
2016-18 Flowers Carol 5 episodes
2016 The Circuit Angie TV pilot [31][32]
2018 The Bisexual Leila 6 episodes

WebEdit

Year Title Role Notes Ref(s)
2010–2012 The Slope Desiree Also director, writer and producer [15]

Personal television appearancesEdit

Year Title Notes Role Ref(s)
2014 How We Make Movies TV Series Herself [33]
2018 Entertainment Tonight Canada TV Series Herself
2018 Dykes, Camera, Action! Documentary Herself
2019 Hollywood Insider TV Series Herself

Awards and nominationsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Appropriate Behavior's Desiree Akhavan: Just Your Average Iranian, Bisexual, Mel Brooks-Loving Breakthrough Filmmaker". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  2. ^ Omar, Yasmin (October 4, 2018). "Desiree Akhavan: Stop calling me the bisexual Lena Dunham". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  3. ^ "Desiree Akhavan". IMDb. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Sundance: Why Desiree Akhavan Could be the Next Lena Dunham". Variety, January 18, 2014.
  5. ^ "Exclusive: Clip From Sundance Film 'Appropriate Behavior,' Writer/Director/Star Desiree Akhavan Talks Sex Scenes & More". Indiewire, January 15, 2014.
  6. ^ Freeman, Hadley. "Desiree Akhavan on Appropriate Behaviour and not being the 'Iranian bisexual Lena Dunham'". The Guardian. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c "'I'm not the new Lena Dunham': Desiree Akhavan on her new film". Evening Standard. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b "10 Questions for Filmmaker Desiree Akhavan". The Arts Desk. March 3, 2015. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b Valentini, Valentina. "Appropriate Behavior's Desiree Akhavan: Just Your Average Iranian, Bisexual, Mel Brooks-Loving Breakthrough Filmmaker". Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  12. ^ QMUL. "Graduate's 'Iranian-American bisexual comedy' premieres at London Film Festival". QMUL. QMUL. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "Meet Sundance breakout Desiree Akhavan, the next Lena Dunham". New York Post, January 20, 2014.
  15. ^ a b The Slope on Vimeo
  16. ^ a b "Desiree Akhavan and Ingrid Jungermann | Filmmaker Magazine". 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  17. ^ "Appropriate Behaviour director Desiree Akhavan on diversity in film and being an outsider". March 5, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  18. ^ "SUNDANCE INSTITUTE SELECTS 10 WRITERS FOR INAUGURAL EPISODIC STORY LAB". September 16, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  19. ^ "Desiree Akhavan". IMDb. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  20. ^ "Bisexual sitcom coming to Channel 4". Comedy.co.uk. August 24, 2016.
  21. ^ The Bisexual, retrieved March 11, 2019
  22. ^ a b c Omar, Yasmin (October 4, 2018). "Desiree Akhavan: Stop calling me the bisexual Lena Dunham". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ The Miseducation of Cameron Post - IMDb, retrieved March 11, 2019
  25. ^ "CHLOË GRACE MORETZ: IN CONVERSATION WITH TATUM O'NEAl - Vulture Festival". vulturefestival.com. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  26. ^ Omar, Yasmin (October 4, 2018). "Desiree Akhavan: Stop calling me the bisexual Lena Dunham". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  27. ^ a b c Omar, Yasmin (October 4, 2018). "Desiree Akhavan: Stop calling me the bisexual Lena Dunham". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  28. ^ Sturges, Fiona (October 6, 2018). "Crazy, unsexy, cool: why The Bisexual is TV's most nuanced take on relationships". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  29. ^ "Iranian-American Filmmaker Breaks Out Of Boxes, Into The Box Office". NPR.org. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  30. ^ Omar, Yasmin (October 4, 2018). "Desiree Akhavan: Stop calling me the bisexual Lena Dunham". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  31. ^ Channel 4 announces new comedy pilot The Circuit - Channel 4 - Info - Press
  32. ^ The Circuit review: Pulling's creators take aim at the dinner party - Television & radio - The Guardian
  33. ^ "Desiree Akhavan". IMDb. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  34. ^ "2014 SDAFF winners announced!". November 9, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  35. ^ Olsen, Mark (January 27, 2018). "The Miseducation of Cameron Post". Los Angeles Times.

External linksEdit