We’re thrilled to introduce our 2021 joint Feature Fellowship winners, Laila Ujayli and Zaina Ujayli!
In their Fellowship-winning script, FOUR FLOORS IN RAQQA, which is is based on a true story, a headstrong woman braves bombs and execution in ISIS-occupied Raqqa to protect her neighborhood and the home she built with her siblings.
As this year’s joint Feature Fellowship winners, Laila and Zaina receive free tuition and housing for this year’s retreat as well as a private advisory session at the retreat with all the mentors, who including working Hollywood agents, managers, producers, development executives and other pros. In addition, Laila and Zaina share a cash prize of $10,000 and a 12-month fellowship program with two of our mentors.
Laila and Zaina Ujayli are Syrian-American twin sisters who grew up between Saudi Arabia and the Midwest. They’re passionate about bringing Arab and Muslim characters to the big screen and want to use film to make global issues feel local.
Laila holds Master’s degrees in Film Aesthetics and Public Policy from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She is currently a JD candidate at Harvard Law School and associate editor at Inkstick Media.
Zaina is a PhD student at the University of Southern California, where she focuses on recovering the stories of twentieth century Arab diaspora women writers in the Americas. Her writing has been published in outlets such as THE NEW ARAB and ARABLIT QUARTERLY, and she has previously worked in the fields of human rights and refugee resettlement.
Congratulations again to Laila and Zaina Ujayli!