Hena Ashraf is a writer-director who creates subtle and multi-layered narratives with intriguing outsider characters. Born in London to parents from the subcontinent, she spent her early years in the United Kingdom before im/migrating to America. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Hena concentrated in Film & Video Studies and Political Science. She then spent several years in NYC, working with Democracy Now, Downtown Community Television, the Knight Foundation, and the Mayor’s Office of NYC. Hena also taught through PBS’s Muslim Youth Voices, Manhattan Youth, the Tribeca Film Institute, and worked as a Programs Associate at Black Public Media.
Hena was a showcased artist at the 2010 World Islamic Economic Forum in Kuala Lumpur. Her film “Small Delights” won “Best Emerging Filmmaker” at the 2014 Queens World Film Festival and received a Community Arts grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council. Hena also joined the Diverse Filmmakers Alliance in NYC, a workshop group of inclusive filmmakers and storytellers.
She is pursuing an MFA in Film Directing at UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television, during which she’s been a recipient of the Islamic Scholarship Fund and a Motion Picture Association of America award. Hena tends to disappear into her headphones, blogs every now and then here and here, and you can find her always hating on social media. Most recently, Hena participated in Tribeca Film Institute’s Immigration Co/Lab.
Hena creates cinema, because frankly, there’s nothing else she’d rather do.