Mahshad Afshar (b. Isfahan, Iran) is a filmmaker, visual artist, and researcher living and working in London. Her work mostly draws on the aesthetic of painful otherness, body, memory and politicised identity. Afshar’s debut feature docudrama Cul-de-sac (2010), portrays the challenges of an Iranian homosexual woman in exile. It was broadly received by International press and media and screened at twenty-three international film festivals, Amnesty International and many other human rights and women's rights organisations. In her narrative short film Five (2017), Afshar focuses on the post-traumatic experience of an ex-political prisoner in Iran who is now trying to cope with the life in exile. The film has sofar been nominated at three film festivals including ONE Country ONE Film festival, Oneota Film Festival and continues to circulate at international film festivals. In her most recent documentary and film essay project, Women on Both Sides of the Camera (2018), she questions the idea of female gaze by addressing how Iranian female filmmakers represent female identity on the screen.
Graduated from London Film School in Filmmaking/ Directing (MA) in (2014), She followed her research interests in Film and Television Studies at Brunel University London (MPhil) followed by Ph.D. in Film Studies at Kingston University (London). She has received numerous scholarship and studentships including the prestigious Creative Skillset Film Skills bursary in (2011), London metropolitan bursary (2009) and KSA Studentship (2017).
She is a cultural and political activist with the research interest in the areas of Feminist Film Theory, Gaze and Screen Representations of Gender & Sexuality. She has widely collaborated with renowned International human rights organisations and campaigns specially of those supporting refugees and migrants. Afshar is currently collaborating with organisations that use arts as a means to build solidarity, dialog and spreading peace across cultures.