A New Film by Nina Menkes


A psychological quest film and existential murder mystery set in the burning heat of a contemporary summer. Older sister celebrity NIKKI, from Los Angeles, California, attempts to contact and reunite with her younger sister, JANET, wife of a diplomat stationed in Cairo, Egypt. The film’s root is a violent, possibly sexual early trauma that is buried within these women’s interior landscapes. With its atmosphere of violence against a US/Arab nexus, LAX a key location, the film involves an American diplomat who is murdered in Afghanistan and includes sequences of raging fires both in LA and in Cairo. Stylistically the film combines highly beautiful, surreal images with a brutal realism.
Film Status

Seeking additional financing.

The script for this new project Heatstroke has won a Media Arts Award from the Rockefeller Foundation, NYC.

Official Website (Coming Soon)

The Director

NINA MENKES’s films have shown widely in major international film festivals including Sundance, Rotterdam, Locarno, the Viennale, the Berlinale, as well as at La Cinematheque Francaise, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her many honors include a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for her first feature film MAGDALENA VIRAGA, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker Award. Her work has been listed on many periodicals “Top Ten Films of the Year” lists, including Film Comment and, repeatedly, The Los Angeles Times. THE BLOODY CHILD was named one of the best films of the past fifty years by the Viennale Int’l Film Festival, Austria.

Menkes’s award-winning features also include the documentary shot in Beirut, Lebanon, MASSAKER (2005), about the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, which premiered at the Berlinale and received a FIPRESCI Prize and the surreal drama PHANTOM LOVE (2007) which premiered at Sundance to critical raves. DISSOLUTION (2010), shot in Tel Aviv-Yafo, was awarded BEST DRAMA at its premiere at the Jerusalem International Film Festival and was named “One of the Year’s Top Five Films” by Sight and Sound magazine.

Menkes’s work shows theatrically, has also been broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, as well as on WDR German Television and other foreign networks. One of the few women alive to have completed six feature films, retrospectives of Nina’s work have shown in Los Angeles, New York City and many European capitals.


Acclaimed filmmaker Gus Van Sant is the Executive Producer of Heatstroke. He was nominated for an Academy Award in Directing for his 2008 film Milk, and won the Cannes Film Festival Prix du 60ème anniversaire for his 2007 film Paranoid Park, an award which also acknowledged his full body of work.

In 2003 Van Sant was awarded the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his film Elephant.

In 1997, the director first gained mainstream acceptance with Good Will Hunting starring and written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The film—about a troubled, blue-collar mathematical genius—was a huge critical and com- mercial success. In addition to taking in more than $220 million worldwide, it received a number of Academy Award nominations, including a Best Director nomination for Van Sant. It won a Best Screenplay Oscar for Damon and Affleck, and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Robin Williams.

His filmography as writer and director includes his 1989 adaptation of Tom Robbins’ novel “Even Cowgirls Got the Blues”, and My Own Private Idaho starring Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 1991.