The film Naaz is inspired by true events. It is a story of a young South Asian woman who arrives in New Jersey as a bride only to find herself trapped in an abusive marriage and a precarious immigration status. Such stories of South Asian women in the US are usually swept under the rug by the communities involved lest it bring “shame” or “dishonor” to the families. These women are often forced to become invisible, in order to survive. Naaz takes a deep dive into this world, presenting a deeply complex and nuanced portrait of a subculture of immigrant women, and the various ways they challenge patriarchy within their families and communities. Afia Nathaniel hopes to develop the idea for the screen and, eventually, a TV series.
Pakistani-American filmmaker Afia Nathaniel’s debut feature film Dukhtar (Daughter) premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2014 becoming Pakistan’s Official Submission for Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. The award-winning film was labelled “groundbreaking” by Indiewire and “exquisite” by the New York Times. It played to critical acclaim in over 20 countries and became the Village Voice’s Critics’ Pick and People Magazine’s Pick of the Week. Nathaniel is an alumnus of Columbia’s MFA Film program, IFP/Gotham, Film Independent and Berlin Talent Project Market. She has received support from HBO, Netflix, National Geographic, Tribeca Film Institute, Cinereach, WIF, NYFA, Rotterdam, Sorfond, NYSCA and HFPA.