Becoming (2023)

Becoming is a 7:15 mins trancelike Screendace work, made as part of my practice to inform my PhD research into peak-experience and flow in the creative experience as Screendance filmmaker. It is a poetic and highly sensorial work which portrays the movement of the dancing body and traces of animated form as a gateway to a transcendent state. It is explored through an intimate and intense connection between the filmmaking artist and dancers as they fuse in the process of a hypnotic ‘becoming’. It features performances by dance artists Helen Hall and Maeve McGreevy and music by Hannah Harvey.

Ode to Gaia (2023)

I was commissioned by DuDance NI to make a a short dance film with a group of women in West Belfast, using only their hands and feet and music by Hannah Harvey. The film was screened as part of International Women’s Day in March 2023 at Cultúrlann, Belfast. Link to film will be included soon.

Invisible Barriers…Moving Images (2015)

I was commissioned by Golden Thread Gallery as the Lead partner for Draw Down the Walls, to create 5 short films for the Invisible Barriers: Moving Images project about invisible barriers with groups and individuals from north Belfast. The films were to reflect their experiences and explore barriers that they identified themselves.

In November 2015, the films were shown as part of the Invisible Barriers: Moving Images Film Festival, presented by Golden Thread Gallery and Belfast Film Festival in unique locations in Belfast, including Harbour Commissioners Office, Hill view Retail Park and Belfast Castle Grounds. They were part of 5 triple-bills each including a mainstream feature film and a moving-image artwork.

During the month of November 2015, the 5 films were screened at Belfast City Hall and touring across Northern Ireland since then.

The publication ‘Invisible Barriers: Moving Images’ based on the project was launched in June 2016, hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Belfast. It includes an introduction by writer Glenn Patterson (Good Vibrations co-screenwriter):

“I am in the United States… as a visiting lecturer, teaching a class called Belfast Narratives… I want them… to have a different understanding when they leave the class at the end of the Semester than they had when they came in at the start… And it occurs to me that one of the ways to ensure this would be to dim the lights and show them the Draw-Down-The-Walls films, one after the other… They illuminate where we are, and they show us – and others – where we might go next…Sometimes… by looking inward you still find new ways of seeing and being, and communicating. Draw-Down-The-Walls films do all that and much, much more.” -Glenn Patterson

To view films in full click on links below:


Intern 3

Along the Lines

The Carcass Among Us

The Wall

Participating groups were: Marrowbone Youth Club, Lower Shankill Youth Group; Lower Shankill Adults; Golden Thread Gallery Summer School and the Participation and Practice of Right’s Right to Work, Right to Welfare campaign.

Draw Down the Walls is a partnership between Golden Thread Gallery, North Belfast Interface Network and Lower Shankill Community Association that uses art and community relations techniques to imagine a city without barriers.

Tapestry of Colours (2012)

‘Tapestry of Colours’ is an 80 minute emotive feature length documentary HD film I produced, directed, filmed and edited that explores the fusion of cultures in Northern Ireland. It features personal and moving interviews with individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures, set against colourful and unusual festivals with a strong emphasis on music. The film poses several questions on perceptions and attitudes about identity and culture but has left viewers ultimately engaged and inspired.

Support Funded by NICRC Media Fund Scheme and ZMN Creative Studio

Find out when and where ‘Tapestry of Colours’ is screening – click here »

Read reviews of ‘Tapestry of Colours’ – click here »

Stepping Stones (2012)

Shot in Dublin, ‘Stepping Stones’ is a dramatised information 15 minute film I produced, directed, filmed and edited for the Refugee Access Programme of City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee as part of an educational package to assist in the integration of separated refugee children and youth in the education system in Ireland. The young people in the film assisted in the making of it. Scripts were based on their true experiences. The film has been disseminated to all schools in Ireland.

RAP Interviews

To accompany ‘Stepping Stones’, I filmed and edited interviews with three young people who have gone through the CDVEC Refugee Access Programme, talking about their experiences of the education system in Ireland.

Living in the Half Light (2009)

‘Living in the Half Light’ is a 10 minute film I produced, directed, filmed and edited that looks at the challenges of dual identity experienced by children and youth in Northern Ireland whose origins are from a different culture. It highlights the confusions and concerns which are added to their expected growing pains and the implications into adulthood as they try to fit in and be accepted as ‘normal’. This was my first film, made in 2009, and reflects some of issues that affected myself when I moved to London some years ago, having just finished primary school in Iran.

Stephen’s First Day (2012)

I facilitated this Community Arts Partnership film workshop for Headway, the Brain Injury Association in Belfast. With my assistance, the members wrote the script, acted, filmed and directed this short dramatised film about the members’ experiences of Headway, which I then edited.

Poetry and Dance – NI Hospice (2011)

I shot and edited this 16 minute emotive film about a dance and poetry project with the day patients in NI Hospice in Belfast for Studio ON and NI Hospice. Due to the sensitive nature of the film, it is not available for the general public.

7 Valleys Experimental Video and Dance Installation Project

A 4 minute test for 7 Valleys, an experimental video and dance installation project idea I’ve been developing, inspired by the book ‘the Seven Valleys, by Baha’u’llah. It is a poetic multi-sensory exploration of a mystical composition and the seven stages of the spiritual journey from this world to other worlds. Mixing film, contemporary dance and movement, motion graphics and improvised non-verbal music, it combines several of my creative interests.

Film/Edit/Art work/Motion Graphics/Vocals by Zhenia Mahdi-Nau
Music: Acqiescence and Lamentations by Toby Marks and Zhenia Mahdi-Nau featured on the 2013 Banco De Gaia album ‘Apollo’
Dance and choreography by Sheena Kelly