Director & Photographer

ZEINA AREF


Raised in Egypt, Zeina’s work is always driven by a desire to share accurate realities and stories for her countryfolk and break down preconceived notions of what that reality may be. With a background in fashion, her approach to social and political issues in her film and photography is unique, blurring the line between documentary and drama.


Cottonball | Editorial
This editorial was shot for Cottonball, a brand specialising in high quality basics.


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Pride of Arabia Campaign - Family Affair
This project was created in collaboration with 'Pride Of Arabia' and Ahmed Sorour as a campaign for one of their events. They are a "London-based network and support system centering queers from the MENA region and its diaspora”. With a focus on what family can mean, this project was created in order to celebrate all definitions of family.


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Si El Sayed
This project is based on this very famous saying in Egypt called "Si El Sayed" which was a phrase created to describe a very typical Egyptian man who enjoys asserting his power. The phrase is actually based on a character from the book, Palace Walk, originally published in 1956. This Character, Si El Sayed represented how the typical Egyptian man was, with all the different layers or roles that this man had to play, whether it be who he is with family, friends or at work. These different roles he had to play led to a hypocritical sort of life, created due to the pressures of having to present himself as this very masculine character. 

The aim of this film was to look at what the typical Egyptian man looked like today, with the narrative being extracted from different women in Cairo and their relationships with their male family members. It became clear that we hadn’t had progressed much from toxic masculine ideologies of what a man should be like today, and it has resulted in a very complicated phycology with men today, feeling like they have to have certain mannerisms in order to be considered “masculine.”