Aqeela Rezai has a passion for film, which began in 2003 and continues to this day. “I am a graduate of journalism from Kabul University, a mother of three children and the founder of the Noqra Film Company.”
As a woman who has faced her own struggles, she doesn’t shy away from difficult stories. “My husband was kidnapped during the Taliban’s regime and has since been missing, therefore I was left alone with my three children and no clue how to make my living. Following some miserable days back then, I started my career as teacher with a school called Zainab Kobra High School.”
“While I was working as school teacher, a filmmaker asked me to act in a short scene of a film, which was the start of my career in film industry and movie-making. Acting in this movie, named At Five in the Afternoon, changed my whole life. The film won an award for best movie in the Cannes film festival in France in 2003. After that, I worked as an assistant director for another movie called “Osama,” and this movie too won several national and international awards in 2003.”
Rezai continued her creative vision, supported by a flourishing media sector and international interest. We Stars, a film she directed, was featured at the Afghanistan Human Rights Film Festival in 2011 and her documentary film, Full of Love, was featured at the 2014 Stockholm Sweden film festival. However, she wanted to make her art self-sustaining as a business venture.
“In 2014, I established my own company but I didn’t know how to make it work. How would I make my company successful?”
In 2015, after learning about the Professional Development Certification Training Program (PDCTP), a four-month training opportunity dedicated for capacity building of Afghan businesswomen, through The Women's Center (TWC), she registered at American University of Afghanistan.
The four subjects of the certificate were really practical for my business success and it helped my company build quality work and a good reputation in the film industry in Afghanistan,” explains Rezai.
She developed a business plan, using modern tools for her media company. The accounting and financial system, branding techniques and operational policies helped to revitalize her company.
“It had very positive effects on increased sales and revenue generation of my film production company,” enthuses Rezai.
In 2015, she received an honorary award for her work from Peace Through Business.
“I am very glad for all the success my company has had so far and am very hopeful for its prosperous future. I would always recommend the professional training's of TWC to other Afghan women for furthering their business and enhancing their business management and entrepreneurship knowledge and skills,” she says.