Director's Statement by Yucef Mayes

Zahra and the Oil Man, portrays an intimate relationship between a father and daughter facing economic challenges in the City of Newark, New Jersey.  The father-daughter relationship is put to the test as Zahra and her father, Hafeez, have an opportunity to help each other grow.


Hafeez learns that he needs his daughter’s help just as much as his daughter needs him. The film portrays the varied narratives about families living in Newark, specifically, a Muslim American father parenting a pre-teenager.


Zahra and the Oil Man is a unique story which helps to debunk myths and change the narrative of Muslim Americans; raise awareness around issues with literacy; grow and build capacity for entrepreneurialism; develop and train black girl leadership; and foster and strengthen relationships between fathers and daughters.