Rayka Zehtabchi is an Oscar-winning Iranian-American director based in Los Angeles, whose passion lies in telling human stories that bring awareness and action to little-known social causes. In both documentary and narrative, she brings a naturalistic approach to her storytelling, striving for honesty and intimacy on screen.
Her Oscar-winning short and documentary debut, Period. End of Sentence., which can be seen on Netflix worldwide, is about a group of village women in Northern India who start a sanitary pad-making business in an effort to improve feminine hygiene and de-stigmatize menstruation. Along with the film’s release, Rayka helped co-found the non-profit organization The Pad Project to fight the stigma of menstruation and improve feminine hygiene worldwide.
Since then, Rayka has directed multiple branded documentary shorts, including United O for The Special Olympics, as well as A Woman’s Place, which was made in partnership with Vox Media, KitchenAid, and Ventureland and is now streaming on Hulu. The film was an official selection of Tribeca X and most recently won Gold at the 2021 Effie Awards in the Positive Change – Social Good: Brands category.
Outside of branded work, Rayka’s films (SHn(y)o͞of), Just Hold On, and Are You Still There? have all received Vimeo Staff Picks and have screened and won Jury awards at prestigious festivals such as SXSW and AFI Fest.
Future projects include a narrative feature film based on her family’s experience immigrating from Iran to the United States in the 1990s as well as a fiction short that captures the experience of immigrant workers who seek employment in the US. Rayka continues to work in both documentary and fiction, pushing the boundaries of each form with every project she helms.