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Grandma Swim

Fall Grants 2023 - Production Stage

Maryam Mir / Short Narrative / Bahrain, USA, Qatar / 15 min / Original Language: English, Urdu / Interests: Drama


When the grandfather of Rana, an ocean-loving and excitable 10-year-old, passes away, so does their weekly ritual of swimming together at the magical Malkiya beach on the small desert island of Bahrain. Rana, instead, turns to her indoor-loving, public-fearing grandmother, Bushra, to keep the tradition alive. One problem—Bushra has never swum. In fact, she hates anything to do with the beach—the sticky sand, the oppressive heat, the monstrous sea. All those watching, judging eyes. But, struck by her own grief and her granddaughter’s insistence, Bushra reluctantly agrees to take Rana to the beach—just for this special day: their shared birthday.

Upon arriving at the beach, Rana quickly discovers Bushra’s interpretation of visiting the beach vastly differs from her own. As Bushra is confronted by the elements she most fears, she also slowly begins to see her surroundings through the eyes of her granddaughter—noting its little sparks of leisure and delight, for the first time in years. As Rana unlocks Bushra’s buried capacity for joy—through a shared ice cream cone, a fantastical swing ride and a turtle-shaped swim tube—Bushra begins to release her rigid ways and imagine herself into a space she has never before—the ocean.


Maryam Mir
Maryam Mir
Amna Alhawaj

About the Director

Maryam Mir is a writer/director and thesis student currently pursuing her MFA in Film Production at NYU Tisch, where she is an Ang Lee Scholar. As a Kashmiri-Canadian born in Germany and raised in Bahrain, with Kenyan ancestry, Maryam has always found inspiration in stories that centre the immigrant experience in all its joy, delight, and magic. She is a UCP Thousand Miles Project Workshop Participant ’22, a NYFA Canadian Women Artists’ Awardee ’22, and a Gotham Marcie Bloom Fellow ’23. Her latest short film, ‘Sweet Refuge’, starring Laith Nakli (‘Ramy’) and Mahira Kakkar (‘Manifest’), has played at 20+ festivals, was recently awarded a Jury Award for Best Student Film at the Director’s Guild of America Student Film Awards as well as Best Narrative Short (MIFF’23, iSAFF’23), Best Director (MIFF’23), Best Performance (DCAPAFF’23), an artist award from the New York Foundation of the Arts (NYFA’22) and distribution grant from the Islamic Scholarship Fund (ISF’22). She is currently in development for her thesis film set in Bahrain, the beautiful & abundant desert island she grew up on.


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    Maryam Mir


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