Zal Batmanglij is an American film director and screenwriter. He directed and co-wrote the 2011 film Sound of My Voice and the 2013 film The East, both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Batmanglij was born in France to Iranian parents. His mother is the cookbook author Najmieh Batmanglij, and his younger brother Rostam Batmanglij is a member of the band Vampire Weekend. Both brothers are gay. Batmanglij grew up in Washington, DC, in the United States. He studied anthropology and English at Georgetown University, graduating in 2002. There he met Mike Cahill in a philosophy class. They took a screenwriting course together and produced a short film that won the Georgetown Film Festival. Brit Marling saw the short film and asked if she could work with them. Several years later, after Marling's graduation, the three friends moved to Los Angeles, California, where Batmanglij attended the American Film Institute Conservatory. For his thesis film, he made a 35mm short called The Recordist (2007), which starred Marling.