SHAYDA Discovery


Australia’s Oscar® submission for Best International Feature

Screening to be followed by a conversation with director Noora Niasari.

Noora Niasari’s poignant debut feature, executive produced by Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett, follows the courageous titular character, Shayda (brought to life by the captivating Zar Amir Ebrahimi, Cannes’ Best Actress winner in last year’s HOLY SPIDER), as she fights for autonomy from her abusive husband. Set in the mid-’90s, Shayda and her 6-year-old daughter Mona are temporarily living in Australia as her husband Hossein attends medical school. When Hossein’s abusive behavior escalates to a devastating violent act, Shayda takes refuge at a women’s shelter while she files for divorce, an immensely taboo decision that makes waves in their close-knit Iranian community. Matters only intensify when Shayda is required to allow Hossein weekly visits with Mona. As Shayda explores a life separate from the controlling clasp of her husband, she discovers a newfound self-reliance, as well as a potential romantic spark. Anchored by supporting roles of the resilient women in her shelter, SHAYDA shines a light on female solidarity and the superhuman resourcefulness of motherhood. Winner of the World Cinema Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. –Julia Kipnis

Tehran-born, Australian raised, Noora Niasari is a writer/director/producer and co-founder of Parandeh Pictures. Her film CASA ANTÚNEZ was nominated for the New Talent Award at the 2017 Sheffield DocFest. After SHAYDA comes RAYA – the second feature film in Niasari’s trilogy about Iranian women, set for production in early 2024.


Country: Australia, Iran

Year: 2023

Director: Noora Niasari

Screenwriter: Noora Niasari

Producers: Vincent Sheehan, Noora Niasari

Executive Producers: Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton, Coco Francini, Caitlin Gold, Lindsay Lanzillotta

Director of Photography: Sherwin Akbarzadeh

Editor: Elika Rezaee

Production Designer: Josephine Wagstaff

Costume Designer: Zohie Castellano

Cast/Featuring: Zar Amir Ebrahimi, Osamah Sami, Mojean Aria, Jillian Nguyen, Rina Mousavi

Running Time (minutes): 117

Languages: English, Farsi