Emelie Mahdavian

Assistant Professor

FMAB 116

Emelie Mahdavian is an Emmy, Peabody, and Sundance Award-winning filmmaker who was selected for DOCNYC’s 2020 “40 Under 40” list. Her nonfiction feature BITTERBRUSH screened at Telluride Film Festival, Doc Fortnight at the MoMA, won a Special Jury Prize at Visions du Réel and is in release with Magnolia Pictures/Hulu. She produced, wrote, and edited MIDNIGHT TRAVELER, which won numerous international prizes and was nominated for a Gotham Award for Best Documentary.  

Her current project is PLANET A, a film about a women-led science team who are the last humans to set foot on the ice shelf of Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica. The film was the result of a solo-filming expedition in winter 2022/2023 and is currently in the edit.  

Emelie was previously a professional dancer, and she is also completing a documentary about the creative process of Alonzo King LINES Ballet. She was Assistant Director of Ballet Afsaneh and a company member of Isadora Duncan Award-nominated Wan-Chao Dance. Her dance film work has screened at museums and international festivals including the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum and Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center.   

Emelie has a Ph.D. in Performance Studies with an emphasis on Film Practice as Research from the University of California, Davis. As a scholar, Emelie focuses on dance and film, often in the context of gender and cultural performance. She has published on dance performance of gender in the context of rising nationalism in post-Civil War Tajikistan.