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The Iranian-American filmmaker bringing her “weird and sexy” stories—and her parents—to set.

Desiree Akhavan is not very good at taking time off. “Right now I’m upstate with my ex-girlfriend, dogsitting. Yesterday, we went on a hike and the whole time I wanted to talk about writing my book and how to shape a chapter, and she was like, ‘Maybe you should write about how you can’t enjoy a vacation,’” says Akhavan, speaking from her temporary hideout in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

The Iranian-American film-maker is as busy as ever, but in a way she’s never been before: on her own. She’s currently writing her first book, a collection of essays, after making her name as a groundbreaking writer, director and producer of films and television. Appropriate Behavior was her first feature film, made in 2014 with production partner Cecilia Frugiuele, about a headstrong Iranian-American bisexual woman grappling with heartbreak. The Miseducation of Cameron Post followed in 2018­—an empathetic and nuanced

  • Words:
    Megan Nolan
  • Photography:
    Zoltan Tombor

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