About Faisal

Exploring the hidden, the unknown and the invisible.

Faisal Azam is a writer, photographer and an award-winning film editor. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Faisal grew up in the Middle East, where his interest in art, ironically, was stirred by the heavy-handed censorship of television in Saudi Arabia. Curious about missing parts and disrupted scenes, Faisal became fascinated with the structure of storytelling and the power of the image to provoke a visceral reaction in the human psyche.

Immigrating to the United States at the age of 15, Faisal graduated magna cum laude from UC Berkeley with a degree in Rhetoric. Though his studies included everything from postmodern theory to Urdu poetry, it was in Political Cinema, a class taught by acclaimed theorist Kaja Silverman and German avant-garde filmmaker Harun Farocki, that Faisal came to fully appreciate how effectively visual media can challenge assumptions and influence perceptions.

A career in film

For over a decade, Faisal worked almost exclusively as an editor/producer in New York City. With an eye for story and an artist’s touch, he has cut commercials, narrative films and television shows, including documentaries for National Geographic, Dan Rather Reports, USA Network, Current TV, and The Travel Channel as well as the upcoming indie feature Black Dog, Red Dog produced by James Franco. Faisal also co-produced and edited the feature length documentary, Without Shepherds, a look at Pakistan beyond the sound bites, which won the Grand Prize for Best Film at the Brooklyn Film Festival. Over the course of his career, Faisal’s work has screened at top tier film festivals like Sundance, Claremont-Ferrand, Palm Springs and BFI London. The last narrative short he edited, Salar, won the Best Dramatic Short Film award at the Austin Film Festival and was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2013. Faisal currently serves as a judge for the Emmy Awards.

Ways of seeing

Moving into photography and fiction has been a natural evolution into work that is more personally expressive. Across disciplines, Faisal is ever grasping at the intangible—time, tone, rhythm, deeper shades of meaning—and creating art with power that lies not just in the story it tells, but in the way elements are combined, layered and juxtaposed. Through his first photography series, The Undiscovered Self, and collection of short stories in progress, Faisal continues to explore a lifelong fascination with the hidden, the unknown and the invisible.