Zeila Films - Home About Us Projects Blog Press Get Involved

About Us

Zeila Films aims to create film and media projects that promote diverse interests/issues and cross cultural understandings of domestic and global concerns with an emphasis on voices, images and stories that are not ordinarily seen or heard in mainstream media. A New York-based production company, Zeila Films was founded by Somali-American writer and filmmaker Idil Ibrahim. Working side by side with her creative partner, Iranian-Canadian-American filmmaker Anna Fahr, the Zeila Films team tells global stories from a personal perspective using film and media to bridge cultural divides.

Zeila=The name of the company was inspired by the Somali city of antiquity, Zeila (Saylac), which is surrounded by the sea on three sides and served as a center for trade, intercultural exchange and the sharing of ideas for many civilizations.


Idil Ibrahim - Director/Producer

Idil Ibrahim - Director/Producer

Idil Ibrahim, a New York- based filmmaker, served as Associate Producer on the film Laredo, Texas which was an official selection of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. She also served as Associate Producer on the feature documentary Americana, also directed by Adizes (City, Seven Miles Alone) and produced by Corinne Golden Weber (Babel, 21 Grams, Revolutionary Road), an official selection of the 2009 Cinema du Reel Festival at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France, Dallas AFI and the Margaret Mead International Documentary Film Festivals. She had a producing role on the film Trece Anos, which also selected for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, as well as the Aspen Shortsfest, GenArt, Los Angeles International and Ashland Independent Film Festivals. Trece Anos was also featured at Pangaea Day, a global multimedia event simultaneously aired and broadcast in locations around the globe such as Kigali, Cairo, London, Rio de Janeiro and New York with the mission and purpose to decrease divisions and create change and global unity through the power of film.

She attended graduate studies at New York University where she was a Nadine Abergel Arts Fellowship winner. A graduate of UC Berkeley, in her senior year Idil was selected as an Episodic Series Intern for the highly competitive Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) Internship program where she worked on the Lifetime Network television show Any Day Now. She was also selected as an Arts Bridge Scholar for UC Berkeley's Consortium for the Arts where she taught video production and documentary film analysis to Berkeley High School students. When not in New York, she is usually travelling the globe telling one story at a time.

Anna Fahr - Producer

Anna Fahr - Co-Producer

Anna Fahr is a New York-based Producer/Director/Editor. Anna's first feature-length documentary, Khaneh Ma: These Places We Call Home (2006), examines issues of cultural identity and dual nationality from the vantage point of three generations of Iranians living in Iran, Canada, and Germany. The film received a theatrical release at the National Film Board of Canada cinema in Montreal and screened in festivals and universities in Canada, Europe, and the USA. More info on the film can be found at: www.khanehmamovie.com. Anna's producing credits also include the feature-length documentary in production, DISPLACED (Tribeca All Access 2010) and Persian Fashionistas: A New Generation of Revolutionaries (Berlin Talent Campus 2007, IDFA Jan Vrijman Fund, ITVS, Jerome Foundation grant recipient). Anna earned her Master's in Film and Middle Eastern Studies from New York University, where she wrote her thesis project, Madar (Mother), as a screenplay for a feature-length film about the life of a woman during a period of critical social and political transition in pre-revolutionary Iran. The project was selected as part of the 2007 Reel World Film Festival's Emerging 20 Filmmakers Competition and was awarded a scriptwriting grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. Alongside working as an independent Producer/Director/Editor, Anna teaches a course on Film and Feminism in Iran at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

John Ryan - Producer

John Ryan - Associate Producer

John Ryan is an awarding-winning journalist who specializes in complex legal affairs coverage, including human rights issues and all matters related to the criminal and civil justice systems. The Los Angeles Press Club named him a Print Journalist of the Year Finalist all three years between 2003 and 2005 for his coverage of high-profile national issues, such as the war on terror, the drug war, political corruption, corporate fraud, film and music piracy and disparities in criminal sentencing, among many others when he served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

John also twice won the Los Angeles Press Club's award for Best Magazine Feature, once for his coverage of a wrongful conviction case and once for his story on a major religious-discrimination dispute. During his tenure, he broke many important regional and national stories, including the existence of major criminal investigations and instances of government misconduct.

Since relocating to New York, John has served as editor-in-chief of a legal affairs website and magazine while continuing to pursue freelance projects. He has served as the editor of THE LAW, a practical consumer-advice supplement for people in need of legal help that reaches 1.5 million readers. He has experience writing, editing and producing features for newspapers, weekly and glossy magazines, blogs, websites, investigative reports, research, book proposals and documentary films. Prior to entering journalism, John worked as a research fellow for a major arms control lobbying group in Washington, D.C. and as a researcher for a policy consulting firm. He has his BA in Government from Colby College, where he earned the academic distinction of Phi Beta Kappa and won his department's esteemed Harold Dubord Prize.

Tim Hetherington - Cinematographer/Director of Photography

Tim Hetherington - Cinematographer/Director of Photography

Tim Hetherington, photographer and filmmaker, reported on conflict and social issues for over ten years. Born in Liverpool, UK Tim studied literature at Oxford University and later returned to college to study photojournalism. He lived in New York and was a contributing photographer for Vanity Fair magazine.

As a filmmaker, he worked as both a cameraman and director/producer. He was a cameraman on Liberia: an Uncivil War (2004, cameraman - Special Jury Prize at IDFA and IDA 'Courage Under Fire' award) and The Devil Came on Horseback (2007), and his directorial debut film, Restrepo, about a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan, was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and nominated for an Academy Award.

His most recent film, Diary, is a highly personal experimental short and played at numerous at film festivals. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the World Press Photo of the Year (2008) and an Alfred I DuPont award (2009). Tim was tragically killed on April 20th, 2011 while covering the conflict in Libya -- a terrible loss to the Zeila Films team and all those who loved him. Tim will always remain an integral member of the Zeila Films team and memorialized on our website and in our continued work around the globe. To leave condolences for Tim please visit: www.timhetherington.org/condolences/