From the Episode: America

Rita Mahtoubian is Not a Terrorist

| August 23, 2016

AFI / 2015 / 8 minutes / English / Color

“If you do the most, you’ll live the most life.”

Iranian-born Rita Mahtoubian comes from a long line of doers and dreamers. But after she arrives in America alone in the 1980s, she seems destined for anonymity. After an inspiring Rosh Hashanah dinner at her neighbor’s house, Rita sets out to change her life from ordinary to extraordinary. In the process, she also unwittingly attracts the attention of a Homeland Security agent.

Directed by Roja Gashtili and Julia Lerman. The directors were named 2016 Film Independent Directing Lab Fellows for their work on a feature-length version of the short. Principal Cast: Della Saba, Patrick Fugit (Gone GirlAlmost Famous), Charlotte Ross, Anthony Azizi, and Lauren MacLean.

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Meet the Filmmaker:

Roja Gashtili and Julia Lerman

Roja Gashtili and Julia Lerman

Read more about Roja Gashtili and Julia Lerman, the directors of Rita Mahtoubian is Not a Terrorist.

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Film School Shorts is made possible by a grant from Maurice Kanbar, celebrating the vitality and power of the moving image, and by the members of KQED.

Film School Shorts is a production of KQED.



Series Producer
Lisa Landi

Associate Producer
Julia Shackelford

Peter Borg

Zaldy Serrano
Christina Zee White

Original Music
Written and Produced by

John Andrieni

Kevin Cooke
Marie K Lee

Social Media Specialist
Aldo Mora-Blanco

Sarah Hoffner

On Air Promotion
Bridget Louie

William Lowery
Abby Staeble

Director of TV Production
Sandy Schonning

Executive Producer
Scott Dwyer