Rayka Zehtabchi is a 25-year-old Oscar winning Iranian-American director based in Los Angeles. Her directorial debut, Madaran, is an Iranian language short that won Jury awards at top film festivals and qualified for the 89th Academy Awards in 2016.
She is the very first Iranian woman and second Iranian filmmaker to win an Oscar. In an video interview with Cinema Without Borders and CineEqual, she told us about the effects of her Iranian root in her plans as a filmmaker,
Rayka’s Oscar winning short documentary, Period. End of Sentence. can be seen on Netflix worldwide, and is about a group of village women in Northern India who start a sanitary pad-making business in an effort to improve feminine hygiene and de-stigmatize menstruation. Along with the film’s release, Rayka helped co-found the non-profit “The Pad Project” to fight the stigma of menstruation and improve feminine hygiene worldwide.
Future projects include a short documentary on the Special Olympics, a narrative feature film based on her family’s experience immigrating from Iran to the United States in the 1990s, as well as a feature documentary further expanding on the topic of menstruation worldwide.
Rayka’s passion is telling human stories that bring awareness and action to little-known social causes. In both documentary and narrative, she brings a naturalistic approach to her storytelling, striving for honesty and intimacy on screen.