268. Iman Zawahry (Filmmaker, Panama City, FL)

Iman Zawahry was born and raised in Panama City, FL.  Growing up as a minority in a small town with little to no creative outlets, Iman spent her spare time creating and filming amateur spoof productions.  After graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and in spite of pressure to pursue a more traditional career, Iman strove to fulfill her lifelong passion and talent in filmmaking.  The goal of her films is to convey the American-Muslim experience through comedy, as she believes comedy is the best approach for addressing serious issues.
In 2006, Iman was admitted into Florida State University’s prestigious graduate film program and directed three short films.  One of her films, “Tough Crowd,” won an Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Students Emmy Award and the Award of Merit at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival.  “Tough Crowd” also qualified as a finalist in the NBC Comedy Short Cuts where Iman was a finalist to pitch a sitcom with NBC executives.  The Directors-in-Training Program at NBC recently nominated Iman as a possible finalist for its exclusive program.
Iman has worked in over 60 films and was a recipient of the coveted Princess Grace Award, through which she produced, directed, and co-wrote the film “UnderCover.”  UnderCover has been awarded seven “Best of” Awards including Best Director and Best Short, and has been shown in over 35 festivals worldwide.  Iman is currently writing her feature with co-writer of Tough Crowd, Brian Sharpe, and Allah Made Me Funny stand-up comedians Mo Amer and Azhar Usman. She is also a judge in the 2012 DC Shorts Film Festival, a consultant on a Hollywood pilot show, and an Islamic Scholarship Fund Selection Committee Judge for Film.  Iman also gives film workshops to Muslim youth throughout Florida in order to instill a love of the arts and to encourage them to pursue their talents in all fields.

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