© Janne Ebel


Zara Zandieh (they/she) is a filmmaker and visual storyteller based in Berlin. Zara earned an MA in Gender, Ethnic Studies and Sexualities at UEL (University of East London) and spent four years studying at filmArche, a self-taught and self-organized film school based in Berlin. Furthermore, Zara graduated as a master student of Art and Media at the University of the Arts Berlin (Universität der Künste Berlin).

The narratives in Zara’s projects are dedicated to a queer gaze that intricately weaves the complexities of life and multi-layered representations of post-migrant and marginalized subjects into poetic narratives. The subjects and protagonists in Zara’s stories are both tender and hardcore, always portrayed with complexity, empowerment, and respect, in an authentic and unconventional manner. Inspired by the narrative and cinematic language of Iranian and other Art House cinema, as well as queer Popculture, Zara’s work often navigates within the interstices of genres.

Zara’s works have been nominated for awards at various film festivals, including International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, BFI FLARE Film Festival, HIFF-Helsinki International Film Festival, EIFF-Edinburgh International Film Festival, Queer Lisboa, Inside Out, and DokLeipzig. ZAMANI, was premiere at the GORKI Theater in April 2022 as part of the Berliner Korrespondenzen series. ZAMANI was commissioned as a joint project of Allianz Kulturstiftung (now Allianz Foundation) and the Gorki Forum, in cooperation with Humboldt-University Berlin and the Federal Foreign Office.

In 2021, Zara created OCTAVIA’S VISIONS, recommended for a Research Fellowship by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture & Europe in 2019. The film premiered at the 67th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2021 and won the ZONTA Prize. It was showcased at the Humboldt Forum Berlin as part of Berlin Art Week Connect in 2021. Zara was selected for the 2021 edition of Berlinale Talents. Between 2021-2022, Zara was mentored by Axel Ranisch (director, author & actor) as part of the mentoring program of Filmnetzwerk Berlin. One of Zara’s current projects is her feature-length debut, IN DEINEN HÄNDEN (AT)/ IN YOUR HANDS (WT). IN YOUR HANDS is in development and was chosen by the Jury of the Funding Programme for Women* and Non-Binary Artists in Film/Video 2022, offered by the Berlin Senate Departement for Culture & Europe.

Photo Credits: © Janne Ebel

IFA (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations – Berlin), Hamilton College (Clinton / NY), University of Fine Arts (Braunschweig), Gunda Werner Institute (Berlin), Missy Magazine, S*ftie a funk magazine of ARD & ZDF in cooperation with Kooperative Berlin, CIJ – Centre for Intersectional Justice, Tanztage August (Sophiensähle/ Berlin), FilmArche Berlin, Interflugs / UdKLesMigraS & Lesbian Counseling Center Berlin e.V., GLADT e.V. (Berlin), Gender Sender (Berlin), VIA (Association for Intercultural Work Berlin), IniRromnja (Berlin), xart splitta (Berlin), Polish Social Council Berlin, Bildungsteam Berlin Brandenburg e.V., Ballhaus Naunynstrasse (Berlin), Allianz Kulturstiftung (now Allianz Foundation)


© Han Van Acoleyen