The film “Circumstance” was a Sundance Audience Award winner this year, and for good reason. The debut film from writer-director Maryam Keshavarz not only shows the rarely-seen world of modern Iran, but also shows how you, the viewer, can take action to help hasten equality for the women of Iran as well as equality for the gay and lesbian community.

The film’s website, created through Take Part, gives the viewer ways on how they can help and make a difference. Such ways include demanding Al Jazeera in the U.S. in order to present a more accurate portrayal of the Middle East in American media, learn about gay and lesbian rights in Iran, and join the movement to promote Iranian women’s equality.

“Circumstance” will be released nationwide on August 19, 2011. The storyline of the film and the film’s trailer are below.

A tale of love and family upended by obsession and suspicion, CIRCUMSTANCE is also a provocative coming-of-age story that cracks open the hidden world of Iranian youth culture, where a young woman’s most electrifying passion is her most dangerous secret.

The Audience Award winner at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Maryam Keshavarz’s debut boldly takes filmgoers inside a modern Iran rarely witnessed by outsiders: an exhilarating, invisible realm of illicit parties where young hipsters risk arrest, and their futures, as they experiment with sex, drugs and defiance.

In this unseen world, rife with playfulness and peril, two vivacious teenage girls — wealthy Atafeh (Nikohl Boosheri) and orphaned Shireen (Sarah Kazemy) — are discovering their burgeoning sexuality. Like 16 year-old girls anywhere, they are full of wild yearnings and imaginative fantasies. And while the simplest things – swimming, singing, becoming who they dream of being – are often disallowed to them, they take risks every day to lead their own lives.

But when Atafeh’s troubled brother, Mehran (Reza Sixo Safai), suddenly returns home from drug rehab, their private world is threatened. Looking to start his life anew, Mehran joins the Morality Police, a volunteer force that pursues those who break the country’s strict cultural laws. Attracted to Shireen and dismayed by her love for Atafeh, Mehran begins an unsettling and shadowy campaign of spying on his own family. As he ramps up his surveillance, the consequences ensnare them all in a complicated web of desire and betrayal that will unravel their bonds and compel them each to make starkly different decisions.

Filmed in an undercover production in Beirut, Lebanon, Keshavarz’s fast-paced, sensual style forges a powerfully relevant tale of youth in search of freedom. CIRCUMSTANCE will be released nationwide on August 19, 2011.

Roadside Attractions and Participant Media present CIRCUMSTANCE, written and directed by Maryam Keshavarz, and starring Nikohl Boosheri, Sarah Kazemy, Reza Sixo Safai, Soheil Parsa, Nasrin Pakkho, Amir Barghashi, Fariborz Daftari and Keon Mohajeri. The producers are Karin Chien, Keshavarz and Melissa M. Lee and the executive producer is Christina Won.

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By Monique Jones

Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

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