Recently launched motion picture production company has headquarters in Del Mar
By Diane Y. Welch
When Samir Zakir was in preschool he was no stranger to the spotlight. The gregarious toddler found joy in acting and modeling as he was bitten by the acting bug early in life.Fast forward 20 years and Zakir is now CEO of Zakir Pictures, LLC, an international motion picture production company headquartered in Del Mar with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Dubai. The executive team includes Adam Dyer, COO; Ajit Ahooja, CFO; and Terry Beardslee, CLO.
Just launched, the company has already attracted interest from the top five movie distribution companies: Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures. Of these, two are in negotiations with a decision and official release of the sole partnership set to confirm after the Cannes Film Festival in May, Zakir said.
The company plans to initially produce 10 films, with five already selected for this year. Two are Zakir’s own screenplays which are in the pre-production phase: “Money, Power, and Everything Else” and “Facade,” with a third based on the life and work of early 20th century Rancho Santa Fe architect Lilian J. Rice in the development stage.
The projects are in the process of being financed by private local and overseas investors and will close escrow later this year for release in theaters within the next two to three years.
Committed to producing “quality innovative films” specializing in dramas, political stories, action adventures, mysteries, and high-concept features, “each will also have an underlying theme that speaks to people from all cultures, with an eye toward positive change,” said Zakir.
It is a dream come true for the son of Afghanistan parents who emigrated to the U.S. as children. A close relative of Zakir’s, Khaled Hosseini, is the author of “Kite Runner,” a novel which was adapted into an award-winning movie. But Zakir is quick to explain that his dream was realized without family help and is the result of a personal drive to tell powerful stories.
Having graduated from Rancho Bernardo High School at age 16 to pursue law and acting, Zakir turned to storytelling when he began writing screenplays. Intending to develop his screenwriting into movies, Zakir instead headed down a destructive path. “I discovered gambling,” he said.
A teen entrepreneur who made a fortune in sales in the gold industry, Zakir became a hard-core gambler. From the age of 18 through 21 he spent much of his income in casinos. The money he lost each year, “most people don’t make in five years,” he said.
Zakir faced his demons for the last time when he gambled $100,000 in one session, money earmarked to start his own production company. But through the support and love of family and friends, being broke and hitting rock bottom, he was able to start over.
The experience prompted Zakir to establish a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, a foundation with 10 divisions of giving. One has a specific focus on addiction. The charity has been formed to coincide with the production company launch and Zakir Pictures will donate a percentage of film profits to the foundation. It has already brought together several powerful people who support the variety of causes and will officially launch in late spring.
Each division will have a separate board of directors. Areas of focus include victims of hunger, abuse, rape, inhumane forceful acts, lack of education and current disasters. “We focus on bettering the lives of others by demonstrating positive influences and examples to the homeless, foster-kids, and underprivileged youth,” said Zakir, who loves children.
A close friend, Jeanette Day, founder of “Just in Time For Foster Youth,” will collaborate closely with the foundation. Research into mental conditions, major diseases and health disorders will also get support, as will education, adoption and endangered animals.
By following his dream to tell stories Zakir has also realized his parallel dream as a philanthropist. “I’ve seen a lot of bad things in this world, and I’ve always wanted to help and now I’ve finally been able to figure that out,” he said.
Visit www.zakirpictures.com to find out more about Zakir Pictures, LLC and its foundation.
- Carmel Valley production company to hold auditions for TV show ‘So You Think You Can Sell?’
- $100K oceans fundraiser launched
- Instructor inspires teens in production of ‘Fame’
- ‘Idol’ audition inspires Del Mar singer to set music career in motion
- Del Mar Foundation collecting memories for 30th anniversary celebration
Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=45558