Famous Director, Actor and CEO Amena Khan, shares her journey to success in showbiz arena
I was born with a wild heart and a free spirit. I am a dreamer and a go-getter who cann0t conform and who believes in Allah guiding and protecting her, always. I believe impossible doesn’t exist.
I was blessed to be born in an upright, progressive Pakistani family that tried to keep me somewhat on track, however best they could. Forever the black sheep, the mischievous prankster, the mimic, the outlaw, the wild child, I was always a handful of disturbance in their punctual, organized lives. I somehow got through school not only because of my academically super-strict father but also a no-nonsense tolerating mother. The dream was that one day it’ll all be over and I could go act in Tarzan or comedy-action movies, perform my own stunts, fly planes, race cars, keep dogs, horses, dolphins and chimpanzees as pets and of course travel the world. But like everyone, I eventually realized, after school comes college and then university. The somehow seemed to have no end to the powers-that-be, wanting to force knowledge upon me. However, we were kept well-grounded and taught to keep our feet on the ground and our minds soaring in the sky.
My father played a very important role in my life and it was his grooming that I was able to work day and night tirelessly, was never scared of an obstacle, and could take challenges head on even in the early years of my professional life. Watching my mother face and move relentlessly through so many ordeals after my father’s death, living under her nourishing, benevolent, consistent presence gave me the confidence, support and courage to keep going strong.
During school and college, I had been very actively involved in music and theater, and to keep moving ahead in this craft, while attending university I began anchoring a few music shows like Video Junction (VJ), Music Channel Charts (MCC) and acting for some television shows like Agent-X. I also performed as a voice actor for the famous Sesame Street in almost 204 episodes, when it was first brought to Pakistan.
I continued to grow professionally as I started editing and directing music videos. Female editors at the time were unheard of but breaking stereotypes had always been my forte. Direction seemed to pull me towards itself because of its overall challenging nature. It required creativity, desire for smart storytelling, sense of design and aesthetics, technical expertise in an ever-changing advancing environment, physical strength, stamina and strategic thinking to shoot in various locations, consistent problem-solving, and working round the clock to meet project deadlines with sometimes little or no sleep. Although my desire to direct continued to mature, I graduated with an MBA in Marketing and Finance to fulfill my late father’s dream.
I also completed exciting, inspirational Film courses from London, Australia, Dubai, Singapore. Several of my music videos like, Dosti, Preeto, Jat, Sali, Rangeen, Mehbooba, Allah Karay, to name just a few, and shows like the first season of Pepsi Battle of Bands in 2002, launched and soared the careers of many local singers, bands and stars. With Allah’s blessing the Pakistani film industry hailed me as one of the most sought after female directors in Pakistan.
Every project brought with it new experiences, travels, adventures, challenges and victories. It has been an honor working as a director, editor, actor, grading colorist, voice actor and CEO (of a filming/post company) since 1994. A thrilling roller coaster, fun ride all the way!
Alongside, DreamTeam Films I also launched The Comic Company where we began making Comic Strips, Stop-motion and Claymation Animations. These are fun projects we do in our rare free time. They’ve caught the eye of several brands and today we are doing solicited projects for digital social media as well. In 2017 we started a YouTube channel called Suicidal Potato. We have been uploading tickling content every now and then for our viewers to enjoy!
My dreams had brought me to establish and register DreamTeam Films in 1999. Besides the production house setup and a post-production studio, steering a trained team that had dreams to achieve goals, was a task very important to me. I made sure that my team members from my producers to assistant directors to post-supervisors, and editors and the administrative staff from top to bottom also travel on our projects to other countries and experience the contemporary and advanced world of creativity and project execution.
The next twenty years brought me to work for commercial films and I filmed in many countries like UK, France, Egypt, Thailand, Singapore, Dubai, Australia. I’ve had the good fortune to employ the very best local and international professionals and celebrities for my projects. I’ve also managed to successfully direct and deliver nearly all types of genres and styles (action, comedy, romance horror, lifestyle, food etc.) for my audiences. After the revival of our film industry began in 2007, now that I’m branching out into feature films, I feel fairly equipped with the right arsenal and skill set.
In January 2006 I juggled two important projects side by side — a TV commercial and Zindagi Trust to bring the international legend Brian Adams live in concert to the people of Karachi, to raise funds for Zindagi Schools in Karachi and earthquake affected areas. It was the first ever stand up concert in Pakistan, with heavy security, planning and rehearsals, and an unprecedented audience turn out, with no incident of disruption all through to the end. The show was a huge success and created long term positive buzz. I am also proud to have served humanity in a tiny way by establishing a trust in 2009 called Inclusive Society Pakistan with a friend and through it we ran a project for treatment and therapy of 250 special needs children of Karachi.
Juggling many projects together on tight deadlines and overlapping timelines has become a norm. Allah has helped me sail through every challenge and I am forever grateful to Him.HH
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