Ambarien Alqadar is a filmmaker, writer, and educator. Born and raised in India, the lens of being an immigrant informs her work. Her films explore the idea of home, exile, displacement, and the myth of the American Dream. Trained at India’s Anwar Jamal Kidwai Mass Communication Research Center, Jamia Millia Islamia, Ambarien found her passion in screenwriting and directing through years of documentary work. She was a Fulbright-Nehru Leadership Development Fellow at Temple University, Center for Performing and Cinematic Arts from where she graduated with an MFA in Film and Media Arts.
Her feature-length screenplay- Nisa (Woman), won the Emerging Voice in India Cinema Award 2023 at The Writers Ink Screenwriting Lab and is green-lit for production. Bird Woman, her feature length screenplay, was selected to The Athena Screenwriters Lab, New York, The Stowe Story Labs and shortlisted at 1497. Her short narrative thesis - Ayesha won the Temple University Graduate Award, the Ben Lazaroff Screenwriting Award, The Carole Fielding Award and The Emerging Director Award, Queens World Film Festival, New York. It was screened at The Anthology Film Archives, New Filmmakers Series amongst others. She is in post-production for a speculative fiction short titled- Sultana’s Dream, based on the 1905 short story by Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain. The film blends Ureal Engine game design technology with Cinema. These works are personal interpretations inspired by the idea of 'visual justice cinema'- a practice that centers underrepresented voices and experiences on screen.
The Calligrapher- a documentary short ; won the Best Documentary Short Award for at the 14th Chicago South Asian Film Festival, 2023. Currently she is completing American Dream- a decade long documentary portrait of an immigrant taxi driver who came to America following his dream of becoming a filmmaker. Her other documentary, Who Can Speak of Men was acclaimed as “revolutionary for its portrayal of contemporary Indian Muslim women” at The British Film Institute, Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (FLARE) and was officially selected to several highly regarded international festivals.
Four Women and a Room- a documentary about sex selective abortions in India; was officially selected to the Indian Panorama showcase at The International Film Festival of India, Goa; The Mumbai International Film Festival and won The Indian Documentary Producers’ Association Silver Award amongst others. The Ghetto Girl - a personal documentary; was officially selected to The International Women’s Film Festival, Korea; Tempo Dokumentär Festival, Stockholm and Our Lives to Live; The International Association for Women in Radio and Television Festival. It won The Federation of Film Societies of India SIGNS Special Jury Award and The Indian Documentary Producers Award for Excellence amongst others. The film was screened at The Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology and an installation version of the film was invited to The Farocki Academy, Berlin and Vision Mix, UK.
Her article Veiling/Unveiling was published in The Hijab, Islam and the Politics of Women’s Clothing, Simon & Schuster, India, 2022. Previous writings have been published in SARAI 08 Reader: FEAR, The Media Fields Journal Critical Explorations in Memory and Space, University of California Santa Barbara and The Polis Project. Other prominent awards include The Virginia Center for The Creative Arts Residency, Mid Atlantic Creative Arts Fellowship, three National Public Service Broadcasting Trust Film Fellowships, India; The European Union–India Documentary Exchange Fellowship on Peace and Conflict Resolution, UK; Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Grant and The Center of Study of Developing Societies’ Independent Research Fellowship, India.
She was a Kym Preusse Speaker at The Ontario College of Art and Design, Canada for 'Art Creates Change' and has presented her research/creative projects globally. She has held teaching positions at The AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia University, India and Rochester Institute of Technology, New York.
Directing, Cinema Production, Screenwriting
Specific Research Area
Hybrid Filmmaking Practices, World Cinema
Fulbright Alumni Networ, University Film & Video Association, Brown Girls Doc Mafia