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Zara Balfour
Founder & Head of Production



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Zara Balfour, an award-winning director, producer and writer, with 20 years' experience, has been featured on BBC Woman's Hour and BBC World. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a BAFTA and BIFA voter, and has lectured on cinema and human rights advocacy. Zara founded Picture on the Wall Productions in 2005 to produce impactful documentaries and drama, with a focus on sustainable production.

Originally an actress, Zara shifted her focus behind the lens, collaborating with Sophie Fiennes on a documentary for BBC Storyville. She directed and produced several award-winning short films showcased at esteemed festivals such as Berlinale, European Film Awards, London and Telluride. Subsequently, Zara moved into producing TV commercials, as well as directing content and films for charities and NGOs including Bob Geldof's Band Aid. She has made over 150 commercials and multi-platform campaigns, often working with celebrity talent, for brands including Mastercard, The BRIT Awards, Google, L'Oreal, Xbox and Wimbledon. Awards include Cannes Lions, Clio, Webby and Creative Review.

Zara has made short documentaries in over 20 countries, featuring community projects in developing countries and world events, such as the aftermath of the earthquake in western China, the consequences of the tsunami in north-east Japan, educating street children in Mumbai, and documenting outstanding women supporting community projects in Africa. In the process of making these films,

Zara interviewed hundreds of people on camera around the world for documentaries and news reports - adults and children, politicians and celebrities - often about sensitive subjects.  Zara went on to direct 'Don't Watch This... Read Something Instead' - a film about comedians' reading habits featuring Lenny Henry, Jo Brand, Meera Syal, Bill Bailey, Vic Reeves - followed by the children's series, ‘In the Footsteps Science' for Czech TV.

Zara's first feature documentary, 'Children of the Snow Land', earned acclaim and numerous awards, including winning the BIFA Raindance Discovery Award 2019, nominations at The Grierson Awards, Screen Awards, One World Media Awards, and winning awards at 20 film festivals. Dartmouth Films released the film with 60 UK cinema screenings and VOD with Curzon. TV Broadcasts include Arte, BBC World, NHK and UR. The profound impact of the film led Zara to establish nonprofit organisation Snowland Journeys CIC, supporting Nepalese children, with Dame Joanna Lumley serving as patron.

Recently, Zara directed, co-wrote and produced the mid-length drama film, 'Morning Star', which tells the true story of a British performer and an RAF pilot during World War Two in Malta, to be released in 2024. Also airing in 2024 is Natural History TV series 'A Cheetah's Pride' for Terra Mater Studios, on which Zara was the consulting producer. Zara is currently in development with The Recipe For Happiness, a feature documentary with accompanying series and impact-focused content.

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