Niki Karimi was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. She has been active in theater since elementary school, and has
said that her early interest in film and literature inspired her to become an actress. In 1990, she was cast as a young bride in Behrooz Afkhami's hit film The Bride. Karimi has won many awards nationally and internationally for "Sara" such as San Sebastian film festival award for best actress.She has also recently been on the jury for more than 20 renowned film festivals, including Karlovy Vary Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Locarno International Film Festival and Thessaloniki International Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival and also the 60th Cannes Film Festival. She was assistant of Abbas Kiarostami from 1992 to 2007. Expanding on her career as an actor, she wrote and directed the documentary To Have or Not to Have (2001). In 2001, she won her first award as a director in Iran's Rain film festival for her work To Have or Not to Have, which was produced by renowned Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. Nominated at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival for her feature film directorial debut One Night (2005), she said that acting no longer satisfied her and she would like to direct more movies. In addition to film, Karimi has also done some translating work. In 1999 she released her first translation work, Marlon Brando's biography Songs My Mother Taught Me, which she translated from English to Persian. She also translated two books by Hanif Kureishi, Pakistani-English writer . Her third film as director, Final whistle (2011), won three awards at the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema in Vesoul , France. She has been nominated for best actress award in Fajr Film Festival in 2011 for I Am His Wife (2011), directed by Mostafa Shayesteh. She has been awarded recently by the jury of the Iranian Fajr Film Ů‘Festival for her last film as best director, actress and producer. She also got a jury award for acting in two films, Wednesday, May 9 and Death of Fish. She has been critic of Israel for crimes in Gaza.