Alaa Zabara is an independent Hard-of-Hearing Yemeni-American Director and Cinematographer. Drawn to the power of photographs from an early age, she started to document the daily life around her through the use of a camera. These documentations became her conversation with, and introduction to, the world. She became attracted by the ability of cinema to change the hearts and minds of an audience, highlight the stories that need to be told, and to amplify the voices of the voiceless.
Her approach in telling stories is, through vision, to challenge herself in telling stories that come from personal experience and have a representation of what is usually untold or hidden. She expresses her take on the world creatively, insightfully, and humanely. She likes to play with perception and nudge the audience that they are watching something established by an Arab Hard-of-Hearing woman. Rather than trying to surprise the audience, she strives to unveil potential connections to the characters or the story, creating a new view of their own lives. She wants them to relate to her not as a filmmaker but as a human, filling the distance that comes between each of us.
Her latest narrative short film Selahy was selected for Honorable Mention in Slamdance 2022, and was selected for Competition Shorts in Bentonville Film Festival, BlackStar FF & HollyShorts, primarily focusing on deaf/hard-of-hearing story living in a war zone. She recently finished a project Who am I? that was selected to present a work of nonfiction for the Arab American National Museum 2021 (AANM). Recently Alaa is selected to participate as a Director of CBS leadership Pipeline Challenge 2022 and is Semi-Finalist for the CDDP 2022 program. She was also one of the participants for its third annual RespectAbility Lab for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities. She also finished the Minorities in Film (MiFIM) branded Lab to demystify the process of working in the commercial industry and was a Semi-Finalists for the Paxeros 2020 inaugural WCCDP to direct a spot for Subaru.
MovieMaker Magazine - NFMLA Celebrates Middle Eastern, Arab and Dutch Cinema With Tales of Connection and Loss
Variety - CBS Studios Announces BIPOC Casting Fellowship, Sets Second Cohort for Leadership Pipeline Challenge
Variety - 2022 Slamdance Award Winners Include ‘Hannah Ha Ha,’ ‘Forget Me Not,’ ‘Straighten Up and Fly Right’ and ‘Killing the Eunuch Khan’
Deadline - 2022 Slamdance Winners Include ‘The Civil Dead,’ ‘Hannah Ha Ha’ And ‘Forget Me Not’
Forbes - Natasha Ofili’s Filmmaker Debut At Slamdance - The Black Deaf Female Perspective
Respectability - Alaa Zabara’s Selahy Highlights a Story Not Being Told in the Media Through the Lens of a Girl Who is Hard of Hearing
Variety - Geena Davis Bentonville Film Festival Sets 2021 Lineup (EXCLUSIVE)
The Hollywood Reporter - Respectability 2021 Lab Fellow for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities
Shots - MiFILM launches The Branded Lab
Paxeros - WCCDP 2020 Semi-Finalists