World Premiere of MARYAM at Los Angeles Independent Film Festival      

Maryam , written and directed by Ramin Serry, takes place in 1979 and is the story of Mary (Mariam Parris), an Iranian American teenager, pursuing fun and romance in the New Jersey suburbs.  Maryís world is radically transformed, though, when Ali (David Ackert), her fundamentalist Muslim cousin, comes to live with her family at the same time Americans are taken hostage in Iran.  American backlash against Iranians and Aliís disclosure of the familyís dark history force Mary to come to terms with her own unique, culturally-divided identity.  It is a poignant and often funny movie, exploring prejudice and betrayal, ultimately celebrating cultural diversity and the power of family.  Maryam is set for its World Premiere as part of the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival on Friday, April 14th with an encore screening on Sunday, April 16th.  
 
The film closely mirrors Raminís own experiences and for it he drew heavily from his past.  Raminís parents, both physicians, immigrated to the US from Iran in the early Ď60ís, embarking on their medical careers.  Ramin was born and raised outside of Chicago, growing up exposed to both his familyís traditional Persian culture and to the American suburban culture of his environment.  He distinguished himself early in school, regularly playing 
the lead role in school plays and winning awards for his drawing talent.  But when American hostages were taken in Iran and the American backlash against Iranians took hold, Ramin suddenly found himself the target of fellow classmatesí prejudice and hatred.  During this period, several of his cousins escaped to the US and came to live with Ramin and his family.  Raminís struggle to fit in with Americans while simultaneously learning about his culture from his cousins was the inspiration for Maryam.    
     
After receiving his B.A. in English and American Literature from The University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Ramin earned an MFA in Film at Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts in New York City.  At Columbia, he wrote, directed and edited the short film, "My Sisterís Wedding," about an Iranian-American boy struggling to cope with his older sisterís cross-cultural marriage.  The film played in European Festivals and toured in the International Tournee of Iranian Short Films.  Following the success of his short films, Ramin and producer Shauna Lyon developed and produced Maryam.
     
Ramin and Shauna searched exhaustively for appropriate actors in New York and Los Angeles. The filmís fresh and engaging leads, Mariam Parris (Mary) and David Ackert (Ali), have both played in many films and TV shows. David also happens to be the grandson of revered Iranian composer, Ruhollah Khaleghi.  Shaun Toub, who plays Maryís father, has appeared in films such as Broken Arrow , Stigmata, Executive Decision  and Bad Boys  and in TV shows such as E.R., Seinfeld, Just Shoot me, etc.  And Shohreh Aghdashloo, who 
plays Maryís mother, is the much-beloved first lady of Iranian theater.  Luckily, all of the leads were professionals who had a personal connection to the story.        
     
Ramin felt the need to make Maryam  because although this historical period is vividly remembered by Iranians, for most others it has been largely forgotten.  For Americans, he wanted to offer a positive, multi-layered portrayal of Iranians, hoping to dispel with stereotypes and stimulate constructive dialogue.  And for Iranians, he wanted to present a warm and entertaining celebration of their culture which would be appreciated by audiences all over the world.  

Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Screenings of MARYAM:

Friday, April 14th, 7:00 P.M.  
Sunday, April 16th, 10:30 A.M.     
Harmony Gold Preview House ,Laemmle Sunset 5        
7655 Sunset Blvd.               

Tickets go on sale March 15th.  
Call 1-888-ETM TIXS (1-888-386-8497)
 


 

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