Author: Kisae Husain

Nausheen Dadabhoy- 2017 Film Grant Recipient

Film Category: Second Place Documentary
Film: “An Act of Worship”

Nausheen Dadabhoy (DIRECTOR, DP) is a Pakistani-American director and DP from Southern California. She received her MFA in Cinematography from the American Film Institute. Since graduating, Nausheen has lensed a number of narrative and documentary films, including A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES (2015) with Academy Award winner Sharmeen Obaid and Geeta Gandbhir, and GIRL UNBOUND (2016), which premiered at TIFF. She also shot LA FEMME ET LE TGV (2016), a live action short film Oscar nominee. THE GROUND BENEATH THEIR FEET (2015) — her directorial debut following two Pakistani women after the 2005 earthquake — premiered at IDFA and was nominated for the OXFAM Global Justice Award.

Shireen Alihaji- 2017 Film Grant Recipient

Film Category: Narrative
Film: “Blue Veil”
Please see Shireen’s acceptance speech here. 

Shireen has began pre-production for the film and has had some press for projects that are related to the topic of the film:

Bio: Shireen Alihaji is a documentary filmmaker from Los Angeles covering social issues such gender equality, labor rights, environmental justice, hate crimes, services for disabled individuals, capital punishment, transportation equity, healthcare reform, human trafficking, and immigration. She grew up in the mosque as a student of the Islamic Center of Southern California and today volunteers the at Women’s Mosque of America. Shireen believes that the tradition of storytelling restores justice in affirming one’s experience and reflecting back narratives that makes spaces for others to exist.

As a child of dual-ethnic and dual-faith upbringing, she seeks to create environments that provide modes of existence for disenfranchised identities. You can read more about her work here:

Areas of Interest:

Sofian Khan- 2017 Film Grant Recipient

Film Category: Second Place Documentary 
Film: “An Act of Worship”

Sofian recently directed a short film, called : “Do We Belong?”.

Bio: Sofian is the founder of Capital K Pictures— a New York-based production company focusing on documentary work. His shorts have appeared on Field of Vision, Al Jazeera, PBS, Fusion, The Atlantic and Huffington Post.  He is a 2016 MacArthur Documentary Grant recipient for his film The Interpreter, currently in post-production. Sofian’s first feature, The Dickumentary (2014)— a definitive history of the penis from its evolution millions of years ago, to today— was acquired by Breaking Glass Pictures in the US, and made its festival premiere at the Atlanta Film Festival. His second feature, Gaucho del Norte (2015), was released shortly after, co-directed with producing partner Andrés Caballero. The film was a Jerome Foundation grant recipient, following South American shepherds who are recruited to work in the American west. It premiered at the 2015 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and afterwards aired on PBS’ America ReFramed series.

Areas if Interest: 

Samir Chiali- 2017 Film Grant Recipient

Film Category: First Place Documentary
Film Name: “A Town Called Victoria”
Please see Samir’s acceptance speech here.

Samir Mohamed Chiali is an Algerian-American entrepreneur and filmmaker. He was born in Tlemcen, Algeria and moved with his family at an early age to New Orleans, Louisiana where he spent his formative years, before relocating to Houston, Texas in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. Samir developed a passion for film and while working as an engineer, he founded Imagineering Films, a video production company in Houston. Besides commercial work, he is working on “A Town Called Victoria”, a documentary that covers the tragic event of the burning on the Victoria Islamic Center in Victoria, TX.

Li Lu- 2017 Film Grant Recipient

Film Category: First Place Documentary 
Film: “A Town Called Victoria”
Please see Li’s acceptance speech here. 

Li Lu is an award-winning filmmaker living in Los Angeles, CA. She was born in Suzhou, China, and her family moved to the United States when she was five. Raised on all three coasts and graduating high school in Sugar Land, TX, Li received her BA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. “There Is a New World Somewhere”, her debut feature, won three “Best Feature” awards and was distributed theatrically and on demand in 2016. Her work has been profiled in the New York Times, IndieWIRE, Bitch Magazine, and IMDb. A maker of both fiction and documentary films, she is focused on work that creates a positive social impact and defies stereotypes by expanding the representation of minorities.

You can view her work at:

Queen Muhammad Ali- 2017 Film Grant Recipient

Film Category: Third Place Documentary
Film: “Comin’ Up Short”
Please see Queen’s acceptance speech here.

Queen Muhammad Ali is a film director, multimedia activist, public speaker, visual anthropologist, television and film producer. Before she began directing films, Queen worked as an elementary grade teacher for a private school in Southern California. Her interest in education led her to film-making. She has produced for MGM Television, Showtime, Univision Television, MTV, and VH1. Her work has also been featured in Ebony Magazine, LAWeekly, Huffington Post, KTLA News Los Angeles, Washington Post, and NY Daily News. Queen has directed films in 7 countries, lectured and screened at several universities and museums including Arizona State University, Museum of Modern Arts (MoMA NY) Denver Metropolitan College, Glendale community College, University of Arizona, Wayne State University, Long Beach State University and the Confucius Institute in Beijing China. She is also the recipient of several distinguished awards. 

A founding member of the nationally distributed magazine, Nation19, Queen published the magazine to raise awareness on Hip Hop advocacy and historic inaccuracies affecting indigenous and black communities. Nation19 reaches millions of people worldwide on Facebook and Instagram daily. 

Queen’s name is not by accident. Her Great Grandfather is Paramount Chief (King) Tuli Le’iato of American Samoa whose letters to President Kennedy are on display at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.