Ziad El-Foty

Ziad El-Foty is a filmmaker, digital agency owner, and academic. He holds his bachelor’s in English literature and film from Lafayette College, a Master’s from Trinity College Dublin in film history and theory, and a master’s in fine arts in film production from Howard University. Foty has taught film studies and production at George Mason University Catholic, and Howard University. He is the founder of a web design firm, Design in DC, and film production company, Foty Fusion Films, where he produces films that focus on underrepresented stories with strong social justice themes.

His debut narrative short entitled “El Mahal,” about a Palestinian-American’s struggle to survive in a family-run grocery store, won the award for Best Foreign Language Short at the 2019 Marina Del Ray Film Festival and Best Cinematography at the 2019 Wheaton Film Festival. Ziad has continuously won awards for several short films, including, “Blue” (2021) which won the Audience Award at the Beverly Hills Film Festival and Normalized (2022) which won the Best Narrative Short at the DC Independent Film Festival, highlighting the true story of a black man struggling with mental illness. Ziad also aired a film he produced on PBS named “The Last Battlefront: The Quest for the Vote in Washington DC,”. This year Ziad will debut his feature documentary “Return to Ramallah” (2023) about his father returning back to his native Palestine after 40 years in America.

As an academic his research interests focus on Palestinian American identity, Arab cinema, and the politics of memory. Ziad wrote his Master’s dissertation on a “A New Group of Palestinian-American Films: Salt of this Sea and Contrarian Representations of the Homeland”. More recently he has recently written and edited a book called Global Horror: Hybridity and Alterity in Transnational Horror Film. His specific chapter explored the trope of the Hollywood Terrorist and the need to highlight films that contain counter-hegemonic self-representations.

As an entrepreneur Ziad started Design In DC from the ground up to become an award-winning

digital agency built for the future. Focusing on cultivating a dynamic work environment and a forward-thinking client experience, he has helped create a vision centered around helping brands tell their stories to the world. Unlike many leaders in design agencies, Ziad’s experience in the film industry has allowed him to bring a fresh and innovative perspective to the world of branding and web design. He views web design as dynamic storytelling much the way he views cinema.

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