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Meet the 2014 Sundance Filmmakers #16: Desiree Akhavan Profiles an Iranian-American Bisexual in 'Appropriate Behavior'

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire January 14, 2014 at 11:21AM

With her first feature film, writer/director Desiree Akhavan delves into new territories with her dark comedy "Appropriate Behavior," in which her female protagonist embarks on an audacious mission to understand her relationships with both her family and her ex-girlfriend, as well as her own sexual identity.
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Desiree Akhavan
Desiree Akhavan

With her first feature film, writer/director Desiree Akhavan delves into new territories with her dark comedy "Appropriate Behavior," in which her female protagonist embarks on an audacious mission to understand her relationships with both her family and her ex-girlfriend, as well as her own sexual identity.

What It's About: An Iranian-American bisexual struggles to find her footing and come out to her family after a devastating breakup.

And So It's Really About: A girl who fucks her way through a quarter-life crisis.

Tell us briefly about yourself. I'm a late bloomer, a night owl, a child of immigrants, and I was raised in NY. 

What was your biggest challenge in completing this film? I was really pretty miserable during the editing process. I found it very difficult to keep perspective and not lose hope. I was too inexperienced to understand that cutting a feature takes time, especially when you're carving out a darkly comedic tone.

What do you want the Sundance audience to take away from your film? There's more than one compelling female narrative out there.

Have any films inspired you? Muriel's Wedding, Fat Girl, Margot at the Wedding - all of these films dance between brutal, unflinching honesty and hilarity.

What camera did you shoot on? The Red Scarlett.

Did you crowdfund? If so, via what platform. If not, why? We didn't. I kinda shot my wad raising funds on Kickstarter for a webseries I co-created called "The Slope". That said, it was a great experience and I would definitely do it again.

What's next for you? I'm currently working on an animated webseries for Judy McGrath's new site, "Astronauts Wanted". I've also written a feature script for an ELECTION-esque comedy about a NYC private school and I am developing a comedic television series about the women in an inpatient rehabilitation center for eating disorders.

Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2014 festival. For profiles go HERE.

This article is related to: Meet the 2014 Sundance Filmmakers, Sundance Film Festival, Appropriate Behavior