- Roger Ebert

a chance encounter


A story that weaves through the lives of five generations of mothers and daughters, The Neighbor takes its audience on an unexpected journey. 


THE NEIGHBOR has a purity and sincerity that spoke to me . . . I knew the music had to be presented in a way that didn't intrude on the action, or the solitude, that the character was experiencing.”
- Mohsen Namjoo


director's statement

For me, cinema is life—intensified, exponentially radiant, moving, surreal.  It has the power to change a person's perceptions and can be a wonderful tool in bridging cultural divides. I was born in Iran and came to America when I was five.  The duality of being both Iranian and American has found its way into this story. Much like the two main characters, Shirin and Leila, I've often felt adrift between two worlds. In The Neighbor I wanted to present women living apart, yet somehow linked by their cultural threads. I also wanted to make a Farsi language film that would stand on its own, unique in its portrayal of Iranian women. We shot on location in Vancouver where there's a large and growing Persian ex-pat community. The process of making an independent film with limited resources and a micro-budget has reinforced my belief that anything is possible. The Neighbor is my first feature narrative.


NAGHMEH SHIRKHAN started her career in the 1990’s editing independent documentaries and feature films for New York City based filmmakers. During that time, she was also teaching filmmaking to high school students. She wrote, directed and co-produced The Neighbor, her first feature-length narrative. The Neighbor has won awards for Best Actress, Best Film and Best Director.  It had its NYC premier at The MoMA,  and has screened at The Venice Biennale, as well as in competition at the Montreal, Vancouver, Chicago, Sao Paolo, and Chennai International Film Festivals. Shirkhan graduated from Boston University with a degree in Broadcasting and Film. She is currently working on her second film.

AMIR NADERI started his international career in Iran in the 1970s with award-winning films such as Waiting and Requiem. In the ‘80s, he helped focus international attention on Iranian cinema with acclaimed works such as The Runner and Water, Wind, Dust. Based in New York City since the late ‘80s, Naderi's U.S. films have premiered at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, MoMA’s New Films New Director’s series, the Venice, Cannes, Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals.  Naderi has served as a jury member of international film festivals for over a decade.  His 2011 film Cut was shot entirely in Japanese and stars Hidetoshi Nishijima.  Amir Naderi continues to produce and collaborate with a new generation of directors such as Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes 2014), Naghmeh Shirkhan (The Neighbor 2010), Andrei Severny (Condition 2010) and Ry Russo-Young (Orphans 2007).

MOHSEN NAMJOO was born in 1976 in Torbat-e Jam, Iran. When he was a year old, his family moved to Mashhad where he spent the next seventeen years. When his father passed away, his family encouraged young Mohsen to attend music classes. In 1994 he was offered admission to study music at The University of Tehran. In 1997, Namjoo left the program and embarked on what has become one of the most successful solo music careers of any artist since the Iranian Revolution.



Azita Sahebjam as Shirin
Tara Nazemi as Leila
Parisa Wahedi as Parisa

AWARDS & Festivals

WINNER, BEST FILM, Milano Film Festival
WINNER, BEST ACTRESS, LA International Film Festival
WINNER,  BEST FILM, Toronto Reel World Film Festival


Museum of Modern Art, Canadian Front Series


Premio Citta di Venezia , Venice Biennale

São Paulo International Film Festival
Montreal World Film Festival
Chicago International Film Festival
Vancouver International Film Festival



A perceptive character study by director Naghmeh Shirkhan....Highly Recommended.
— Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
Another excellent film...a quietly enigmatic debut feature about three generations of Iranian/Canadian females.
— Jeff Heinrich, The Montreal Gazette
Among its most highly anticipated red carpet events....The Neighbor.
The Neighbor is enthralling for those seeking an Iranian film in the auteur tradition.
— Iran Times
Nuanced, visually seductive...
— Maurie Alioff, CTVM
An extraordinary human film.
— Patrick McDonald,
La réalisation très soignée, la direction d’acteurs tout en finesse...une langueur que l’on goûte, seconde après seconde, avec grand plaisir.
— Martin Bisaillon, Rue Frontenac
Captures subtle currents of emotion and atmosphere that are as distinct and particular as fragrance.
— VIFF Program Guide
This nuanced, pathos-filled debut presents an exploration of the complex identity of women as mothers, wives and friends.
— CIFF Program Guide