Everything To Know About The First Iranian-American Woman To Score An Oscar

By Jessica Best
26th Feb 2019

A sling of firsts happened at the 91st Academy Awards—Lady Gaga nabbed her debut Oscar, Marvel Studios won its first gold statue all thanks to Black Panther and Hannah Beachler became the first African-American to take out the top spot for Best Set Design. 

But perhaps one of the biggest steals of the night goes to Rayka Zehtabchi – the first Iranian-American woman to win an Oscar for her short film documentary Period. End Of Sentence. 

The 26-minute doco focuses on a village outside Delhi, India, where a group of women aim to revolutionise the stigma around menstruation. For generations, these women didn’t have access to pads (with 23 per cent of girls dropping out of school when they get their periods) but when a sanitary pad machine is installed in the area, they learn to manufacture their own pads and fight for menstruation equality.

Their crusade is partly enabled by high-school girls in California, who raised the initial money for the machine and created a non-profit called "The Pad Project."

As for the mastermind behind the documentary about periods that won an Oscar? Rayka Zehtabchi is just 25 and she has a huge passion for telling human stories that bring awareness and action to little-known social issues. 

The LA-based director has actually been nominated for an Oscar before (for her debut documentary Madaran) in 2017 and she’s directed a Netflix exclusive series called What I Wish I Knew. If you’re keen to watch more of her work, she’s also directed other documentaries including We Home.

But the penultimate thing you need to know is that you can actually watch Period. End Of Sentence on Netflix now.

Missed the Oscars? Here are all the major wins that went down at the award ceremony.

Image credit: Adam MacMedam

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