Dubai-based filmmaker Zenofar Fathima stars in awareness-charged international dance music video

Zenofar is known for her socially aware short films.



By CT Desk

Published: Sat 19 Mar 2022, 10:40 AM

Last updated: Sat 19 Mar 2022, 4:44 PM

Zenofar Fathima, a Dubai-based filmmaker and actress known for her Covid-19 and socially aware short films has now ventured into the realm of music videos with her first international feature in a dance music video. The track, titled Baila Baila, sung by Guamanian and America-based singer Starla Edney, was unveiled to a select audience of industry professionals and VIPs recently in a private screening at Novo Cinemas 7 Star, at Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai.

The tropical dance number is a product of European label Thrace Music, with the license for marketing and distribution in selective territories including UAE, held with Mumbai based international music label and media entertainment agency Adventure Global Talent. The Dubai-shot music video is also set to be released across worldwide territories.

In addition to Zenofar starring in the video as the lead, she has also conceptualized the message behind the video to reflect what people need most at these times: to be united in times of adversity.

Zenofar’s sense of activist filmmaking has never faltered, even when it comes to music videos that are commonly associated with solely entertainment. Whether it’s child safety on the Internet in The Peril, or domestic violence in A Dark Tale, Zenofar has always had a penchant for raising awareness about significant social issues.

“The best way to raise awareness is through entertainment. By keeping your audiences at the edge of their seats, it becomes easier to propagate an important message and educate them in the process. In doing so, you leave them with an important message that could make a significant difference to their life. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone,” says Zenofar. Her work is predominantly inspired by her own life experiences and observations.

While her pre-Covid-19 films had received positive reviews, it was actually her Covid-19 short films that garnered national attention. Seeing a crucial opportunity to educate audiences through her pithy, poignant short films when Covid-19 first surfaced, Zenofar released a trilogy of Covid-19 short films that each targeted a specific sub issue that was related to the overall pandemic and audience sentiments at the time.

While Tomorrow Never Came was a tribute to doctors and frontliners fighting the pandemic, Hope focused on pandemic related suicidal ideation and depression. The last film in the trilogy, titled The Wave, explored the potential aftermath of underestimating the virus and failing to take precautions against it. All films were shot with Covid-19 precautions being adhered to.

Being one of the first filmmakers in the region to jumpstart such an initiative with the added burden of minimal crew and equipment meant an interesting challenge for Zenofar. “I didn’t exactly know how we were going to shoot a short film with a limited crew and just a camera or two. But it worked out in the end, and it taught me a lot about being resourceful and adaptive in times like these,” Zenofar stated.

Her creative cum humanitarian efforts during the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic had recently led her to bagging the Best Short Filmmaker Award at the annual Midday Showbiz Icons Awards 2021. With Baila Baila, Zenofar still relies on her activist filmmaking origins.

“I think more than anything in these times, people need to be united. So Baila Baila - which means ‘dance’ in Spanish - actually promotes this idea, but through dance. Because like movies, dance is also an art form that has the power to bring people together,” says Zenofar. The music video’s tagline is aptly captioned “where words fail, dance speaks.”


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