Nicholls Art Professor Wins International Film Award for Animated Short on Women’s Rights

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University Assistant Professor of Art Marjan Khatibi won an ANMTN for an animation she created as a master’s student at the University of California in Santa Cruz. 

Khatibi received the Best Student Film Award from the ANMTN! The International Animation Film Festival earlier this year for her film titled, “A Girl Who Asked Why.” 

“It feels great that my story – a story of women who do not have a voice – is being heard,” she says. “Women in my country and many other countries in the middle east do not have the right to do many things, and I think I am responsible for being their voice as an artist. To me, art is a way of communication and inspiring people through unheard stories.” 

Khatibi’s fantasy film is 2D animation based on line drawings, and she served as the writer, illustrator, animator and director for the film, with music provided by Fariborz Lachini. 

The story, she says, is inspired by “A Tale of a Fairy Tale and Other Stories” by author Shon Mehta as well as Khatibi’s own personal experiences, and addresses the drastic restrictions that Iranian women face in their daily lives. 

“The story is about a little girl who struggles for basic rights,” Khatibi says. “I modified Shon Mehta’s stories based on my experience living in a country where people favor men’s rights over women’s.” 

Khatibi created an imaginary setting for her main character based on middle eastern architecture. She splits the world into an underwater society rife with ignorance and another on land that is filled with equality and respect. 

“The fantastical creatures in my animation navigate their way to a world where basic human rights are respected,” Khatibi says. “In many countries in the Middle East, women are not allowed to make decisions independently and require male approval for their basic rights. I believe we need to create art in order to raise public awareness.” 

ANMTN! is an international animation film festival dedicated to the growing worldwide community of animation lovers. Their awards – first given out in 2019 – celebrate newcomers and professionals in a variety of genres and film lengths.For more information on Nicholls Art, visit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, April 15, 2022

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