New York based Pakistani filmmaker, Afia Nathaniel, loves working in the thriller, fantasy, supernatural and sci-fi genres.

Afia’s award-winning films have screened at Rotterdam, Montreal, Commonwealth International Festival, Anthology Film Archive, New York Asian American International Festival among many others.

She directed Long After featuring Tillotama Shome (Monsoon Wedding) and Ayad Akhtar (The War Within) which won a development grant from HBO and the Milos Forman Finishing Fund.

Afia has won several awards for her films and screenplays including the Geri Ashur screenwriting award, Ezra Litwak Distinction in Screenwriting, IFP Market Best Screenplay “Emerging Narrative” and a Hollywood Foreign Press Association award.

Her debut feature film Dukhtar (Daughter) was selected for the Berlin Talent Market and received support from Hubert Bals Fund, Cinereach, Women in Film, Adrienne Shelly Foundation and a seed grant from National Geographic. She also won the prestigious production grant, Sorfund, to shoot the film in Pakistan.

Dukhtar opened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014 and is currently screening in over 20 countries worldwide. Dukhtar is Pakistan’s candidate for best foreign film at the 2016 Academy Awards.

Afia has given several keynote addresses on art, film and social issues and has been on several panels for Asian American filmmakers. She has worked in an advisory capacity on several feature film projects and has mentored student filmmakers based in the US and Pakistan. She was an assistant editor on the acclaimed feature documentary Shame (2006, Toronto) about the Pakistani gang-raped victim-turned-activist Mukhtaran Mai.

Afia holds a BSc in Computer Science from LUMS (Pakistan) and graduated as a Dean’s Fellow from Columbia University with an MFA in Film Directing. She is an alumnus of the Tribeca Film Institute, IFP Narrative Labs and Fast Track.

Winning Project: Dukhtar (Daughter)


In the mountains of Pakistan, a mother and her ten-year-old daughter flee their home on the eve of the girl’s marriage to a tribal leader. A deadly hunt begins for them.