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Q&A with Filmmaker Alireza Khatami,
Co-Presented by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop

Saturday, April 27

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Moderated by writer/artist Niki Afsar

For over 30 years, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop has been dedicated to publishing and amplifying Asian American literary culture. Operating from a radically inclusive ethos, AAWW expands the definition not only of who is a writer, but also of who is Asian American. Through a robust and diverse lineup of programming, AAWW serves as a vital sanctuary space for writers and readers alike. In cultivating and curating the next generation of Asian American storytellers, AAWW works to mobilize the literary community toward a more just future.

Alireza Khatami (Co-Writer & Co-Director) is an award-winning Iranian-American filmmaker based in Canada. Born into the indigenous Khamse tribe in Iran, he is influenced by his heritage's rich storytelling traditions. His films poignantly investigate the interconnection of memory, trauma, and power dynamics, often through a philosophical lens and with a dark sense of humor. He has worked with esteemed filmmakers such as Asghar Farhadi. His debut feature, OBLIVION VERSES developed at the Cinéfondation Residency of the Festival de Cannes, premiered at the Venice Film Festival, winning three awards, including the Orizzonti Award for Best Screenplay and the FIPRESCI Prize. Alireza also co-wrote UNTIL TOMORROW, which premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival. He is currently working on an auto-fictional psychological thriller in Turkey.

Niki Afsar is a nonbinary/femme, Iranian-American writer and interdisciplinary artist living and working in the Washington DC area. Born in Los Angeles to Tehran-born parents and learning to speak Farsi in their mid-20s, their work explores expressions of fluidity and longing within language, hybrid/myriad identities, and mental health. Drawing influences from personal, familial, and cultural histories steeped in poetry and paradox, they experiment with a number of mediums including devised movement and performance; poetry and text; live singing and sound making; and mirror work. They are currently an artist at Red Dirt Studio in Mt. Rainier, MD, have performed at Rhizome DC and the Pie Shop DC, and were a 2023 DC Wherewithal Grantee.

Supported by a Humanities New York Action Grant

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