Neelum Films is a film production company based on Long Island, New York. It showcases the work of artist and independent filmmaker Mara Ahmed.
Neelum Films was created in 2008 to produce, support and galvanize documentaries and multimedia art that highlight stories relegated to the periphery. The idea is to create solidarity with marginalized communities by empowering them to tell their own stories. The first documentary produced by Neelum Films, ‘The Muslims I Know,’ was directed and produced by Mara Ahmed and premiered at the Dryden Theatre in 2008. It started a dialogue between American Muslims and people of other faiths. Mara’s second film, ‘Pakistan One on One,’ opened at the Little Theatre in 2011 and is a broad survey of public opinion about the US, shot entirely in Lahore. It provides American audiences direct access to a diverse cross-section of Pakistani society in the city of Lahore. Mara’s third film, ‘A Thin Wall,’ explores the partition of India and possibilities of reconciliation. It is shot on both sides of the India-Pakistan border and premiered at the Bradford Literature Festival, in England, in 2015.
Neelum Films documentaries have been screened at numerous festivals including the Seattle South Asian Film Festival, San Francisco’s 3rd i Film Festival, the New York Indian Film Festival, the South Asian Film Festival of Montréal, the Mustard Seed Film Festival in Philadelphia, Vancouver’s South Asian Film Education Society’s Festival, the New Narratives Film Festival in Taiwan, the Kolkata People’s Film Festival in India, the Film for Thought Festival in Sydney (Australia), and the International Ruyesh Film Festival in Iran. ‘A Thin Wall’ won the Special Jury Prize at the Amsterdam Film Festival in 2016. ‘The Injured Body’ was fiscally sponsored by New York Women in Film & Television and received a grant from First Unitarian Church of Rochester in 2020, and ‘Return to Sender: Women of Color in Colonial Postcards & the Politics of Representation’ was funded by a NYSCA grant in 2023.
Since Neelum Films productions exist at the intersection of art and activism, they continue to animate a large number of community programs, including screenings of ‘The Muslims I Know’ and multimedia lectures on Islamophobia (at First Unitarian Church, Third Presbyterian Church, Church of Assumption in Fairport, SURJ, the Long Table Conversation and Installation at Gallery 74, etc), panel discussions about white-supremacy and the need for diversity/equity (at the Islamic Center of Rochester, the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, PMI Rochester Professional Development Day, etc), as well as forums on socio-economic class in America (at the Rochester Institute of Technology).