PRETTYBIRD has announced that Academy Award-winner Rayka Zehtabchi is the latest addition to its roster of creatives specializing in brand, music and entertainment content.
“PRETTYBIRD is such a force in the industry. They continue to produce some of the freshest, most meaningful work in my opinion. You can tell they pay close attention to nurturing diverse voices, so I'm really honored to now have my voice in the mix,” she says.
Rayka gained mainstream media attention when her short documentary Period. End of a Sentence. won the Academy Award for “Best Documentary Short Subject,” becoming the first Iranian-American to do so in any category. The film chronicles the impact of The Period Project, which was responsible for installing a manual pad machine in the rural village of Kathikhera, located outside of Delhi, India. The machine not only manufactured affordable, biodegradable pads for the girls and women of the village, but it also produced a microeconomy, enabling young women to use the funds earned to further their education.
The Period Project originated from a teacher, Melissa Berton, and her students at the Oakwood School in North Hollywood, who were inspired to take action after learning about the taboo surrounding menstruation in developing countries.
Rayka’s directorial debut Madaran, which follows an Iranian mother deliberating whether or not to spare the life of her son’s killer, was filmed entirely in Farsi and helped distinguish Rayka as a bold filmmaker driven by her passion for telling human interest stories, irrespective of their origin.
In 2018, Rayka directed her first brand content piece for Netflix’s “What I Wish I Knew” campaign. The film captures a round table discussion among actors Lachlan Watson, Liv Hewson, Jacob Tobia, and Shiva Raichandani, who share their thoughts on self-identity and experiences of being non-binary in Hollywood/Bollywood, the media, and the world at large.
As Rayka moves toward more ventures in branded content filmmaking, she maintains her commitment to impactful storytelling, combined with social activism, “Rather than just selling products, I'd like to sell ideas that will hopefully expand our minds and hearts in some way.”
Rayka just wrapped a branded short documentary on the Special Olympics with Seattle based advertising agency Publicis. She is currently developing a narrative feature film based on her family’s experience immigrating from Iran to the United States in the 1990s, as well as a feature documentary further expanding on the topic of menstruation worldwide.