Mara Ahmed, Filmmaker
Mara Ahmed has a Master's degree in Economics from the University of Hartford, Connecticut, and another Master's in Business Administration from the Institute of Business Administration in Pakistan.
She has worked as Senior Financial Analyst, designing mathematical models for business analysis for the Sentry Group in Rochester (NY), for Alstom Power in Windsor (CT), for Diageo in Hartford (CT), and for Societe Generale and Imperial Chemical Industries in Pakistan.
In spite of her training in finance and economics, Ahmed was always interested in writing, art, and film. In 2004 she took the leap, resigning from her job at the Sentry Group to take art classes at Nazareth College. She never looked back.
The socio-political climate that had begun to change in America after 9/11, was becoming more and more alarming every year. It was frustrating for Ahmed a, a Pakistani-American Muslim, to be constantly in the news yet never have a chance to be part of the discourse. She felt compelled to make the voices of people like herself heard. She began by writing but discovered that mainstream media did not want to hear a different perspective. She then thought of film.
Ahmed’s film training began in 2006 at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. She took classes in Documentary Filmmaking and in Final Cut Pro. Ahmed started shooting her first film, The Muslims I Know, in 2006. In 2007 she took a Production Workshop class at the Rochester Institute of Technology with filmmaker Cat Ashworth. It was during this 11-week class that she went from 30-40 hours of uncut, captured video to an hour-long film.
Ahmed’s production company is Neelum Films. She is a member of Rochester Women in Film and Television and of Rochester Film Lab, since 2007.