Stories Lived

Through a New Lens

‘Through a New Lens’ is a music video by high school sophomore Fez Zafar, in which he discusses the many issues found in today’s world, and society’s lack of action in solving them. Such listed problems include a lack of aid for children in Syria and Yemen; unemployment in the United States; girls’ education and rights in Nigeria; a lack of religious tolerance in regions throughout the world; racism; poor relations between citizens and police officers; bullying in our country’s schools; a lack of programs for victims of heat waves across Asia; and curable diseases that ravage South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Throughout the video, Fez encourages and motivates viewers to stand up and make change rather than hoping for it, telling listeners that change can come even from the simplest act of kindness, as is shown in the lyric: “Treat everyone equally, girl or boy, then watch as the world finally blooms in joy.” By selecting rap and hip-hop as the genre of music found in this music video, Fez works to expand his outreach to listeners of different kinds of music in order to engage, inspire, and motivate a wider audience to rise and change the world for the better, all while viewing the status quo through a new lens. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

‘Through a New Lens’ is dedicated to the memory of four individuals from Fez’s hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. The first two are Sergeant Anthony Beminio and Officer Justin Martin, two policemen who tragically lost their lives on duty in October 2016 after being ambushed and murdered by an armed gunman. The third is Yore Jieng, a classmate of Fez Zafar who was shot and killed by a stray bullet while he was on his way to the grocery store with his family. The fourth is Josef Fuller, a child who killed in a car accident near Fez’s school.



About the Filmmaker
Submitted by Fez Zafar

Fez Zafar is a high school sophomore from Des Moines, Iowa. His films have been screened across the world, including, but not limited to: the White House, Times Square, the Orpheum Theater, the Fleur Cinema, and many more.

Fez began making movies at the age of twelve, when he used his parents’ camcorder to make a four-minute movie with his school friends, called, ‘The Zombie Apocalypse’. Less than a year later, Fez began submitting more professional-looking projects to film festivals, and he soon founded his own production company, Zef Rafaz Productions. By the end of his eight grade year, at the age, of fourteen, Fez had cultivated a portfolio of short films, music videos, and promotional videos for his own middle school.

Soon after his freshman year of high school began, Fez was invited to the White House by President Barack Obama to screen his short film, ‘Road to Unity’, a video that depicts people of different cultures, ethnicities, and religions walking together on a single road with one mission in mind: peace and harmony among all people in the world. Before he left Washington, President Obama told him this: “Keep making films.”

Less than a month later, Fez was invited to screen his film in Times Square at the busiest theater in the world: the AMC Empire 25. Soon after, his film was shown at the Brooklyn Theater in New York, the Orpheum Theater in Memphis, and almost a dozen other places.

After returning from his journey across the country to screen, ‘Road to Unity’, Fez quickly began work on his next few projects; writing, directing, and editing them concurrently. These films include: ‘Go Home’, a silent short film about a refugee who finds conflict in the United States after escaping conflict in his native country of Pakistan; ‘The Forgotten Part of America’, a documentary about Lakota Native Americans Fez filmed on the Lakota Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota; ‘One Last Race’, a comedic short film produced by Fez as part of the 48 Hour Film Project; and ‘Through a New Lens’, a music video filmed by Fez to recognize and raise awareness of the many unsolved problems found in our world today.

Additional music videos, short films, promotionals, and other projects by Fez Zafar can be seen on the website of his production company, Zef Rafaz Productions:

Filmmaker’s Website: