Faith in a higher power is a concept that transcends language, religion, and even culture. Ayah, in association with Firdaus Studio by A.R. Rahman, is a meta-spiritual short film produced in the United Arab Emirates by activist filmmaker and producer Zenofar Fathima. The short film, which is directed and conceptualized by Fathima, as well as written and directed by Afraah Farhana, and composed by music composer and singer Hiral Viradia, propagates an optimistic, universal message to those looking for a sliver of hope in times of hardship and despair. The project promises to tug at the spiritual heartstrings of its viewers, aptly fusing film and theater to do so. The award winning short is proudly under the patronage of Emirati princess, philanthropist and entrepreneur Sheikha Hend bint Faisal Al-Qasimi.
Just two months after its exclusive, star studded Dubai premiere at Novo Cinemas- which featured cast, crew, and prestigious guests such as musician and director at the A.R. Rahman Foundation Khatija Rahman. The film has managed to bag over 12 awards and 15 official selections worldwide to date, with its latest accolade being an Honorable Mention in California-based film festival Faith Fest.
After premiering in India, the UK, and the UAE, the film had also premiered in Australia at the Muslim Film Festival (MFF), as part of its global festival circuit. The film was screened on the 8th of October, 2022 at Melbourne’s Islamic Museum of Australia, which is Australia’s first Islamic museum dedicated to Islamic Art and Muslim artists. Ayah is also slated to be screened in Sydney and Perth in the near future.
Fathima, who boasts a filmography of over 15 short films in the span of four years, associates Ayah’s international acclaim and positive reception with its ability to resonate with anyone. “One of the main reasons why I believe Ayah is able to transcend multiple barriers and speak to the souls of audiences globally is because it communicates a lot without using droves of dialogue. Its uniqueness lies in evoking emotions through the visuals and score,” Fathima explains. “This creative strategy aligns well with the subject matter of the film because faith and spirituality are concepts that we sometimes are unable to express or put into words. They are gifts to humanity that we are meant to feel and embrace.” The film is currently not available for public viewing.
In light of Ayah’s international success, Fathima and her corporate brainchild, Zen Film Productions, are now excited to be creating and producing content for OTT platforms, as well as other media channels. “We are now preparing to expand into additional genres and platforms, and create content that is optimized for each respective platform,” said Fathima. Zen Film Productions’ current projects include YouTube horror short No Way Out, OTT comedy series Jab South Meets North, and an untitled sports drama slash psychological horror.