More About Zahra Pictures
Zahra Pictures' first film, On Common Grounds, produced and directed by Ahmad Zahra and broadcast on the Hallmark Channel, demonstrates company's commitment to dialogue and understanding among cultures. Zahra Pictures' mission is also illustrated in its other productions including its deal in 2004 with Faith & Values Media, a New York based broadcaster, to produce segments for their award winning daily show, New Morning, that aired on the Hallmark Channel and featured stories of ordinary people with extra-ordinary life experiences. Since then, Zahra Pictures has expanded its library of films, secured 100+ worldwide festival screening and garnered over thirty international accolades.
Another goal of the company is to support emerging talent from diverse backgrounds in front of, and behind the camera through various opportunities. In 2005, Zahra Pictures joined award winning actor Tony Shalhoub and the Network of Arab American Professionals (NAAP) to co-sponsor the 1st Arab-American Filmmaker Competition. In 2006, it made possible a film grant to Cal State University, Fullerton to produce the first 35mm student film, Beyond the Fence, directed by emerging Saudi filmmaker, Fahmi F. Farahat. And, in 2011 collaborated with Fullerton College to include emerging student talent in the film production, Three Veils. It continues today with mentorships, internships and other opportunities.
Zahra Pictures was founded and is headed by Producer Ahmad Zahra and is co-owned by the Dana Group, a California based investment firm.
About Ahmad Zahra
Ahmad Zahra was born in Damascus, Syria and raised in both Syria and the UK. After acquiring a Medical Degree from Damascus University, Ahmad went on to study Film, his first passion, at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
His film experience ranges from development and production to distribution in both independent and studio pictures. After several years with 20th Century Fox, Ahmad went on to found Zahra Pictures in response to a need in the film market for media that can bridge the gap between different cultures and reflect the diversity in our society.
The Hand, is a symbol that has been used since the dawn of civilization in many cultures throughout history. It is most prevalent today in Middle Eastern societies where it is known as the "Khamsa" from the Arabic word for "five", referring to the digits of the hand, or as the 'Hand of Fatima' in reference to prophet Mohammad's daughter, Fatima Zahra
While the “Khamsa” has been mainly linked to Islamic societies, the origin of the Hand symbol actually predates Islam and can also be found in other older cultures and traditions. It has been used in ancient Phoenician and early Egyptian cultures and still exists in Hindu (Humsa), Catholic (Mano Ponderosa) and Native American traditions. In the Jewish culture it is commonly known as "hamsa" or "chamsa", also meaning “five”, and in Jewish lore it is known as the 'Hand of Miriam', in reference to the sister of Moses and Aaron.
The Hand often serves as talismanic way of averting the evil eye, bringing good luck or protection and appears in various stylized designs and often used in amulets, charms, jewelry, door entrances, cars, and other places.
The name ZAHRA, an Arabic word, pronounced (Zahra'a) with an emphasis on the end, means illuminated or shining bright.