The film won the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award and Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at this year’s festival


NEW YORK (February 3, 2023) – In a competitive situation, Sony Pictures Classics has landed North American rights to the Sundance award-winning film THE PERSIAN VERSION. Written, directed, and produced by Maryam Keshavarz, the film received a rousing standing ovation and glowing reviews upon its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award (U.S. Dramatic Competition) and The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award (U.S. Dramatic Competition). Keshavarz is the first director to have two films win the Sundance Audience Award in the Dramatic Competition category.

THE PERSIAN VERSION was produced by Keshavarz for Marakesh Films, Anne Carey for Archer Gray Productions, Ben Howe and Luca Borghese for AGX, and Peter Block and Cory Neal for A Bigger Boat. It stars Layla Mohammadi, Niousha Noor, Kamand Shafieisabet, Bijan Daneshmand, Bella Warda, Chiara Stella, Tom Byrne, and Shervin Alenabi.

Coming from two countries at odds with each other, Iranian-American Leila (Mohammadi) strives to find balance and embrace her opposing cultures, while boldly challenging the labels society is so quick to project upon her. When her family reunites in New York City for her father’s heart transplant, Leila navigates her relationships from arm's length in an effort to keep her “real” life separate from her family life. However, when her secret is unceremoniously revealed, so are the distinct parallels between her life and that of her mother, Shireen (Noor).

Punctuated by a bright color palette, snappy comedic relief, and vibrant dance numbers, THE PERSIAN VERSION delivers an honest portrayal of a woman who remains unapologetically herself, blended seamlessly into a heartfelt story about family, belonging, and the undeniable influence of pop music.

Sony Pictures Classics said, “Maryam Keshavarz's THE PERSIAN VERSION is an eloquent film about family and freedom while at the same time grand entertainment. We are excited to bring the movie to audiences everywhere and to be working again with our colleagues at Stage 6 Films.”

Maryam Keshavarz said, “After two plus years of watching everything at home and in our PJs, I am excited to bring THE PERSIAN VERSION to theaters where we can experience the joy and humor of this big rowdy immigrant American family together in a communal setting. Having grown up watching and loving SPC films, I'm stoked to partner with them to reach the widest possible audience for this crazy film.”

UTA Independent Film Group represented US rights with Stage 6 Films. Keshavarz is represented by UTA, Anne Damato, and Victoria Cook at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.

Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the film in partnership with Stage 6 Films. Sony Pictures Releasing International will release the film internationally.


Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992—which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world.  Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 41 Academy Awards® (37 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 186 Academy Award® nominations (160 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for THE FATHER, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, WHIPLASH, AMOUR, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.


Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, 3000 Pictures, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit

For further information: Sony Pictures Classics Press Contacts: Sheri Goldberg (646) 723-3800 Bebe Lerner (323) 822-4800