WXXI Live Chat with Mara Ahmed

Mara Ahmed, FilmmakerMara Ahmed, Filmmaker


Guest: Mara Ahmed
Host: Elissa Orlando
Guest Bio: 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. After working many years as a Financial Analyst she decided to pursue her love of 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. Her film training began in 2006 at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, and started shooting her first film, The Muslims I Know, that year.
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We asked Mara even more questions and she answered them for us!
Please read this longer Q & A for more thoughtful answers.

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Mara Ahmed

Mara has to be congratulated for such a great peice of work. Speaking as a Pakistani American
this movie shows our true feelings that we love this country, we are here to stay, we are no less
americans than others and our kid are proving that. The reason why I moved to this country as
opposed to other western countries is because I knew my kids will grow up as Americans first and will
not have conflict about their nationality. They will always be proud of their roots and proud of the
fact that they are Americans and they can contribute to this society and make it better for all. To
this end I am really greatful that Mara has shown the courage and the will to make this movie and
made us and our kids proud.

Dr. Bilal Ahmed

I was working on homework while your film played in the background. I was focused more on the math problems than the narrative. But then I heard a familiar voice and immediately realized it was Bilal.

It was my pleasure to work with Bilal as he fulfilled a residency program at Highland Hospital back in the 90's. Please send him my greetings.

And finally, your film...
I took an interest in the film because I am a Christian and could identify with the struggles you depicted. Bilal actually made the point I was already thinking as I watched: as an American and a Christian, I find the extreme elements of both groups distasteful and often shocking. I am sometimes hesitant to tell others I am a Christian for fear of what they may mean to them. Thank you for a thoughtful, timely film.

Kind regards,