WEEK IN WOMEN: Maryam Keshavarz’s THE PERSIAN VERSION opens theatrically – Brandy McDonnell reports

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Maryam Keshavarz’s Sundance Film Festival hit The Persian Version will be released in theaters this autumn.

Sony Pictures Classics landed North American rights to the mother-daughter story following its award-winning world premiere at the prestigious Utah film fest.

Written, directed, and produced by Keshavarz, the film received a rousing standing ovation and glowing reviews, along with the Audience Award (U.S. Dramatic Competition) and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award (U.S. Dramatic Competition), at Sundance.

Keshavarz is the first director to have two films win the Sundance Audience Award in the Dramatic Competition category. She previously won the prize in 2011 with her drama Circumstance.

The Persian Version has been hailed as an honest portrayal of a woman who remains unapologetically herself, blended seamlessly into a heartfelt story about family, belonging and the undeniable influence of pop music.

Coming from two countries at odds with each other, Iranian-American Leila (Layla Mohammadi) strives to find balance and embrace her opposing cultures, while boldly challenging the labels society is so quick to project upon her. When her family reunites in New York City for her father’s heart transplant, Leila navigates her relationships from arm’s length in an effort to keep her “real” life separate from her family life. However, when her secret is unceremoniously revealed, so are the distinct parallels between her life and that of her mother, Shireen (Niousha Noor). Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell writes features and reviews movies, music, events and the arts for The Oklahoman, Oklahoma's statewide newspaper, and NewsOK.com, the state's largest news Web site. Raised on a farm near Lindsay, Okla., she started her journalism career in seventh grade, when she was elected reporter for her school's 4-H Club. Taking her duties seriously, she began submitting stories to The Lindsay News, and worked for the local weekly through high school. She attended Oklahoma State University, where she worked for The Daily O'Collegian and earned her journalism degree with honors. She worked for three years at small Oklahoma dailies The Edmond Sun and Shawnee News-Star. In 2002, she joined The Oklahoman as a features reporter, writing about movies, the arts, events, families and nonprofits. She moved to The Oklahoman's entertainment desk in 2007. In 2004, she won a prestigious Journalism Fellowship in Child & Family Policy from the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Along with her membership in AWFJ, she also is a founding member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. Brandy writes The Week In Women blog for AWFJ.org.