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VOA Journalist’s Film About Muslim-American Politician Wins Awards

Documentary earns Emmy & Cine Golden Eagle

During 2008, a Voice of America Urdu-language broadcaster won two important broadcasting awards - an Emmy and a Cine Golden Eagle - for a documentary she co-produced about a Muslim-American female politician in Minnesota.

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Sarah Zaman, a native of Pakistan, was a student at the University of Florida when she co-produced Bismillah: In the Name of Allah, a documentary about Farheen Hakeem’s bid in 2006 to become a commissioner of Hennepin County, an area that includes Minneapolis. Hakeem, 31, did not win election, but the film examines issues she faced in running for political office as a Muslim woman.

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Zaman and co-producer Jolene Pinder won the Emmy for Best Student Documentary as well as the Cine Golden Eagle Award for Best Student Documentary Film in 2008. They were also finalists for the IDA/David Wolper Award for Best Documentary Film 2007.

Zaman and Pinder made the film to complete a Master’s thesis at the University of Florida. They received a grant from Chicken & Egg Pictures, a consortium of women filmmakers, to finish production of the film about Hakeem, who is also a Girl Scout leader.

Zaman, born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan, came to the United States in 2002 to pursue her university studies. She joined VOA in July 2007, where she co-anchors Beyond the Headlines, a 30-minute television news program broadcast within Pakistan.