15-year-old Pakistani-American Student Receives Praise from President Obama

Fez Zafar


4 minutes read

The young student from Iowa came to the limelight following the screening of his short film ‘Road to Unity’ at the White House Student Film Festival. There were 27 short movies, from around the United States, which were screened as a part of the film festival. The 15-year old student from Roosevelt High School Iowa, Fez Zafar impressed everyone at the festival with his craft, which meant that he got a meet-up with the American President himself. President Obama was particularly impressed by the vision Fez has at such a young age.

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The movie was written, directed and filmed by Fez himself. The movie, portraying a strong message of harmony, was filmed in a single continuous shot, which requires a lot of skill and practice. The boy which is the lead character and the road are all in black and white. People from different cultures ,wearing their traditional dresses, are shown in vibrant colors, they join the main character one by one and walk down the road: the Road to Unity. The last frame giving out a loud message to all the people, saying:

People of different ethnicities, races, cultures and religions can live together in unity and harmony. Together, we bring color to our world.

Highlighting the racial harmony and receiving appreciation for such a weightier issue from the White House definitely means a lot. Fez Zafar, whose parents hail from Pakistan and had moved to America for a better fortune, was surprised and happy at the same time. He said:

I didn’t really expect the White House would be interested in showing our movie so it was surprising

The short movies were based on a theme which was ‘What world we all want to live in’. Zafar came up with this brilliant idea of racial harmony seeing the minorities being oppressed everywhere in the world. He said:

It made me think people from different cultures and ethnicities could come together in a video because a lot of times the clash of cultures and religions results in a lot of conflicts we see today.

The short film will now be screened at the NYC Times Square as a part of the “All American High School Film Festival”. The teen student’s vision is exemplary, he wants everyone to understand the message portrayed in his film and strive for that harmony and unity irrespective of the color or ethnicity.

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He has a great love for his ancestral home, Pakistan and is a place of inspiration for him. He has also founded a charity, Site for Smarts and Smiles, which aims to help the needy students in Pakistan. He said:

Pakistan has been a huge part of my cultural identity and I enjoy sharing my family’s culture with other people. Through filmmaking, I can do that while at the same time maybe motivating people to go do something that can better our world.

His zeal for the filmmaking is extraordinary and he has learnt the filmmaking art by himself. He has already made more than 30 short films and is surely going to be a big name in the filmmaking industry in the years to come.