The Sundance Institute in collaboration with The Adrienne Shelly Foundation has awarded the inaugural Adrienne Shelly Foundation Women Filmmakers Grant to Maryam Keshavarz.

The Adrienne Shelly Foundation will provide a $5,000 grant to be awarded by Sundance Institute each July to a film-maker coming out of the Feature Film Progamme's June Director's Lab.

Keshavarz participated in both the 2007 January Screenwriting Lab and the 2007 June Directing and Screenwriting Labs with her project Circumstance.

'It's such an honour for Sundance Institute to be associated with The Adrienne Shelly Foundation,' Michelle Satter, founding director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Programme, said.

'Adrienne was a uniquely talented film-maker whose third film Waitress was a highlight of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.'

'This grant will help to provide momentum and financial support for Maryam Keshavarz as she focuses on the next crucial steps in her film-making process. It is a significant step in advancing independent films by a new generation of women filmmakers.'

'The Sundance Institute and The Adrienne Shelly Foundation have a shared mission of nurturing talented up-and-coming filmmakers,' Andy Ostroy, Shelly's husband and Adrienne Shelly Foundation founder and executive director, said. 'Adrienne would be immensely proud and honored to have us associated with such a prestigious organisation in helping other women filmmakers produce their work.'

'It's very meaningful for me to receive this grant from the Adrienne Shelly Foundation and Sundance Institute,' Keshavarz added. 'I attended the premiere of Waitress at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and have admired Adrienne's work as a writer-director over many years. This grant is a real gift coming at just the right moment.'

Circumstance explores the altered climate of contemporary Iran through the eyes of two girls in the midst of a turbulent adolescence.