From the moment Eyad Zahra realized his passion for cinema, he hasn’t been able to keep his mind off of filmmaking. This 23-year old award-winning filmmaker is an up and coming producer who started his own company, Rumanni Filmworks, before finishing even a quarter of his life. His films have played in countless festivals and even gone on to steal prestigious awards. Currently, he is working onthe much-anticipated SALAAM MTV – MTV’s answer to the Arab world. The MidEastConnect has realized that you cannot know about modern cinema without knowing more about Eyad Zahra and therefore we are proud to feature him in this week’s Young and Professional Profile!
What’s your story?
As a kid, I always felt a strong link to cinema and film. In high school I began taking video production courses for fun, but quickly realized that those courses were by far the most intriguing and exciting parts of my day. Against my parents wishes, I quietly applied to a number of film schools. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into Florida State University’s School of Motion Picture, TV, and the Recording Arts – one of the country’s best film programs. In my last year at FSU, I wrote and directed “Distance from the Sun.” It was a short 16mm film about the day in the life of a Muslim Lebanese restaurant owner. The film went on to play in more then 20 film festivals, and went on to win a best student short film award in Dubai.
What are your day to day responsibilities?
Producing various projects in all stages; pre-production, production, and post.
Currently producing segments for SALAAM MTV, a Middle-Eastern MTV show that will soon begin airing on Showtime Arabia network. Rummani Filmworks has also begun shooting THE AXIS OF EVIL COMEDY tour, starring Maz Jabroni, Ahmed Ahmed, and Aaron Kader.
What’s the biggest challenge?
I have a concrete understanding of my Arab heritage, but I was born and bred as a Midwest American kid – I can apply all of that to my craft.
Who would you like to be contacted by?
Companies that like to push the envelope in film and television. I like working with people who like to take big risks and throw it all on the table.
What’s in store for the future?
Full length feature films.
Unexpected learnings along the way?
Confidence in your own work is the most valuable asset to have, but also the hardest to attain.