Iranian Australian filmmaker and Cultural Trust grantee Noora Niasari's feature film directorial debut, SHAYDA, has garnered critical acclaim on the international stage.  

In January, SHAYDA premiered at Sundance Film Festival, opening the World Cinema Dramatic Competition – one of 12 films selected globally for the category – and won the Sundance Audience Award (World Cinema Dramatic).

Following this success, SHAYDA was acquired for distribution by SONY Pictures Classics.

Noora spoke about her excitement for SHAYDA's reception and approaching distribution "I have admired Sony Pictures Classics for the longest time and feel honoured that SHAYDA is part of their amazing catalogue. Winning the Sundance Audience Award in the World Dramatic Competition was proof of just how universal and emotionally resonant this film is. I'm really proud of my cast and crew and cannot wait to release the film in Australia and worldwide in 2023."

Set in 1990s Australia, SHAYDA tells the story of its eponymous character, a young Iranian woman finding refuge in a women's shelter with her 6-year-old daughter during the two weeks of the Iranian New Year (Nowruz).

As both Writer and Director, Noora worked on SHAYDA for multiple years, completing the first draft of the film's screenplay in 2018 while undertaking a residency with the support of The Ian Potter Cultural Trust.

“Every step of making this film provided new lessons and experiences. I think, above all, it made me realise the importance of self-care, especially when telling a story such as this. As artists and filmmakers, we put so much heart and soul into our work, but we must be vigilant with protecting those things too so we can continue to make meaningful work without experiencing burnout.”

Noora is currently in the process of casting her second feature film as a Writer and Director.

RAYA is an adaptation of an Iranian American novel produced by SISTER and Gary Foster. It's a road movie that takes place in France, with so many breathtaking locations. I cannot wait to get over there and take on this new challenge.”