Albanian born Iris Elezi studied film theory and criticism, anthropology and women's studies in the US before completing her film production studies at the Tisch School of the Arts (NYU) in 2001. Collective memory and the preoccupations of time are some of the essential inquiries underlying her work. Her editing and directing skills on the award-winning six-part documentary series Under Construction (2007) resulted in the series being chosen for the “Films That Matter” selection for the episode Disposable Heroes. Her feature debut, BOTA, premiered at the prestigious Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2014, winning the FEDEORA critics award. BOTA also triumphed at the Reykjavik International Film Festival, winning both the FIPRESCI and the Audience Award. In the US, BOTA was nominated for the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival, and won two awards at the South East European film festival in Los Angeles. After garnering thirteen international awards, BOTA, became Albania's representative film for the 2016 Oscar race. Iris continues to live and work in the Albanian capital of Tirana where she also teaches film history. She has conducted Master Classes at the Durres International Film Festival with Francis Ford Coppola, and at Dokufest with filmmakers Moshen Makhmalbaf and James Longley. Iris is a passionate voice for contemporary Albanian cinema and works to bring knowledge of Albanian film history to international audiences through her own film work and through her work with the Albanian Cinema Project.