Director: Noora Niasari
Producers: Vincent Sheehan, Noora Niasari

Cannes Best Actress winner Zar Amir-Ebrahimi (Holy Spider, MIFF 2022) anchors this Sundance Audience Award–winning portrait of a mother seeking a new life for herself and her daughter.

Shayda, a brave Iranian mother, finds refuge in an Australian women’s shelter with her six-year-old daughter. Over Persian New Year, they take solace in Nowruz rituals and new beginnings, but when her estranged husband re-enters their lives, Shayda’s path to freedom is jeopardised.

Supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund, the accomplished feature debut from MIFF Accelerator Lab 2015 alumna Noora Niasari (Tâm, MIFF 2020; Waterfall, MIFF 2017) was produced by Vincent Sheehan and Niasari, and executive-produced by Cate Blanchett. While forthright about the challenges of healing for those who have survived domestic violence, the film also shines a light on the indomitable hope that propels its spirited, beautifully complex characters. With affecting lead performances from Amir-Ebrahimi and newcomer Selina Zahednia – alongside Leah Purcell (The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson, MIFF 2021), Jillian Nguyen (Hungry Ghosts), Osamah Sami (Ali’s Wedding, MIFF 2017), Mojean Aria (KAPOReminiscence) and Rina Mousavi (Itch) – Shayda is a moving story of resilience, the desire for independence, and the sacrifices and strength of a mother’s love.

Viewer Advice: Contains stroboscopic imagery; strong impact domestic violence themes; discussion of sexual violence.

“Powerful … The greatest asset of Shayda is its unmistakably feminine spirit of perseverance, one that runs wild and free in this promising debut.” – Variety.