Shabnam has spearheaded this project as a personal quest to learn more about her father and her native country of Afghanistan. She is the only daughter of Ahmad Zahir. She holds a degree in English, Comparative Literature with a minor in Sociology.  She has more than a decade of experience in graphic design, creative writing, digital media and photography. Her photography portfolio is diverse, ranging from candid portraits of various political figures in Washington, DC to conceptual and abstract photography. 


Since 2014, Shabnam has been advocating for Copyright Protection for Afghan Artists around the world.



Leslie Knott is an Oscar and Emmy-nominated filmmaker who has worked in Afghanistan for over a decade. She was first introduced to Ahmad Zahir’s music while setting up a radio station for women in the northern village of Maimana. Her first feature documentary film, ‘Out of the Ashes’ (BBC Storyville), was executive produced by Sam Mendes and went on to win a Grierson Award. Leslie’s subsequent films can be seen on Netflix, Channel 4, BBC, PBS, CNN, ITV, NBC and at the Annenberg Space for Photography.

In 2013 Leslie was nominated for an Academy Award for “Buzkashi Boys” which was co-produced by the Afghan Film Project, a non-profit NGO that Leslie co-founded with Sam French in 2010 to help train Afghan filmmakers and foster Afghanistan’s film industry.


MIKE LERNER - Producer

Oscar-Nominated, Mike Lerner has been making films since 1988 for BBC, Channel 4, BFI, HBO, PBS, Discovery Channel. He has won a number of industry awards including, Academy Award Nomination for Best Documentary Feature 2012,  6 Sundance Awards (Grand Jury, Special Jury, Best Director, Audience, Cinematography) , EMMY Award for Best Documentary, 2 Grierson Awards for Best Documentary, Prix Italia, 2 Royal Television Society Award Nominations and 2 IDA Award Nominations, Cinema Eye Award, Independent Spirit Award, Gotham Independent Film Award, Audience Award Durban Film Festival, The Alfred Dupont Award, Winner Best Documentary Moscow Film Festival.


SAM FRENCH - Executive Producer

An Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Sam spent five years living and working in Afghanistan, where he produced and directed documentaries for the UN, NGOs, aid organizations, and the media, including HBO, BBC, CNN, Channel 4 News and Al Jazeera. He wrote and directed the Academy Award nominated short film “Buzkashi Boys,” which was the first narrative film since 2001 to be filmed entirely on location in Afghanistan. 


Sam is back in Los Angeles and is writing and developing both narrative and documentary feature film projects. Sam believes in the power of storytelling to connect people across different cultures, and that if we lift up our voices and share our stories we can change the world.


HILMAND DEHSABZI - Archival Researcher / Associate Producer

Hilmand is the Archival Researcher for the production. With a degree in architecture and solid experience in large scale Urban Development projects, Hilmand has the strong skills required to navigate the complex and fragmented archival landscape of pre-war Afghanistan. He is a first-generation Afghan Australian, based in Sydney and this is his debut in film production.