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Born in Evin

dir. Maryam Zaree / Germany, Austria / 2019 / 98 min. / Polish premiere

Section: ONLINE

Screenings: November 21-25, 2020


Director: Maryam Zaree

Cinematography: Siri Klug

Editing: Andrea Herda Muñoz, Carlotta Kittel

Sound: Michel Klofkörn, Tom Schön, Rudolf Gottsberger

Producers: Ira Tondowski, Alex Tondowski
Co-producer: Arash Riahi

Production: Tondowski Films GbR in co-production with: Golden Girls Films

World sales: Syndicado Film Sales

Language: German, English, Persian


“Born in Evin” follows filmmaker and actress, Maryam Zaree, on her quest to find out the violent circumstances surrounding her birth inside one of the most notorious political prisons in the world. Exactly forty years have passed since the monarchy of the Shah of Iran was toppled and the Islamic Republic declared. In the 1980’s Ayatollah Khomeini, the so-called religious leader, had tens of thousands of political opponents arrested, persecuted and murdered. Among them the filmmaker’s parents who, after years in prison, managed to seek asylum in Germany. The family never talked about their persecution and imprisonment. Maryam Zaree faces the decades-long silence and explores her own questions about the place and the circumstances of her birth. She meets other survivors, talks to experts and looks for the children born in the same prison. She tries to find answers to her personal and political questions. What are the personal consequences of persecution and violence when the same perpetrators remain in power while the victims internalize their stories? And what does it mean, politically, to face the silence within the family. The political is private and the private political. With this conviction, Maryam Zaree works through the complexities of trauma and denial.




Berlinale (Compass Perspektive Award), Hot Docs Toronto, IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Sarajevo Film Festival, New Directors New Films Festival (Honorable Mention, Audience Award for Best Feature Film), This Human World Film Festival Vienna, Seoul International Agape Film Festival, Morelia International Film Festival, Elbedock International Documentary Film Festival, Underhill Fest, Biografilm Festival, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, DUHOK International Film Festival, International Human Rights Film Festival Albania, Heartland Film Festival



Maryam Zaree was born in 1983 in Teheran, Iran. Fleeing political persecution, her mother brought Maryam with her to Germany when she was two. She grew up in Frankfurt am Main and studied acting in the renowned Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF. She has played lead roles in a dozen feature films, worked for theatre and Television and has been awarded for her performances. In 2018 she received a “Grimme Preis” for her performance in the TV show “4 Blocks.” Her first theatre play “Kluge Gefühle” received the Author’s Prize of the Heidelberg Stückemarkt and has been performed in multiple theaters. “Born in Evin” is her debut feature film.


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