Writer, Director, Producer
My name is Abdullah Abu-Mahfouz, and I am an independent Muslim American film director and writer. I am passionate about navigating my life with filmmaking by finding healing through the medium’s expression for myself and others. “Emotion is emulsion,” as they say, and like the legendary Muslim director Moustapha Akkad, I love connecting people through my stories.
My interest in filmmaking began when I was inspired by Akkad’s movie The Message and its behind the scenes. As a Muslim born in the USA and the son of war refugees, Akkad’s approach to shooting the film in two different languages (with a separate English and Arabic cast) struck me. In his behind-the-scenes interviews, he said his intention was to “bridge the East and the West.” Since then, I’ve realized the power of cinema and used filmmaking to reconcile my Eastern upbringing with the Western world around me.
I committed to a filmmaking career when I attended Full Sail University for a Film BS. When I graduated, I freelanced for Al Jazeera America for a year, making documentaries and training journalists to shoot and edit videos. I completed my first feature-length film, Stand Up, in 2016 and my next critical project, The Pursuit of Refuge, a film about Syrian refugees adapting to USA life, in 2019. Since the shut down of Al Jazeera America, I have worked as a freelance film production crew member. I now direct and produce movies at my startup studio, Reel Nation Media. www.ReelNationMedia.com
My goals for the next 5-10 years are to direct 3-5 fictional and documentary films that serve as a method to inspire meaning. As documentarian Ken Burns says, “I believe it is the artist's responsibility to lead people into hell. But I also believe it's important to lead the way out.”