As a new generation of filmmakers from Afghanistan, we aim to reclaim and own our narrative by telling stories that were buried for centuries. For us, Cinema is rather a historic responsibility than an artistic exploration. It’s a medium where we practice to survive and create under constant fear of death and nothingness. It’s a search for identity and understanding of our complex relations with our homelands and the world we are living in.
Ilyas was born and raised in Kabul. He started his career as a multimedia journalist and TV Show producer in 2011 while studying at the Journalism Faculty of Kabul University. In the meantime, from 2012 to 2019, he contributed to various research projects as a research coordinator, researcher, and data analyst. The research projects he contributed to mainly focused on topics such as extremism, radicalization & mobilization, women's rights, and studying the dynamics of power, security, and local governance in conflict-affected districts. He traveled inside Afghanistan extensively in the past decade and had access to the most insecure places in the country. This helped him gain unique access and in-depth knowledge of his homeland.
Ilyas produced short films in 2016 & 2017 and worked as location manager for the award-winning documentary “Kabul City in the Wind.”
He founded his production company, Kamay Film, in Afghanistan and later moved its office to Brussels, Belgium, in August 2021.
Through Kamay Film, Ilyas has been developing two feature documentaries. He is the main producer and co-director of Kamay in the post-production stage and the producer of Life in the Shadows in the early production stage. His projects have received support from prestigious film foundations, such as IDFA Bertha Fund, The Whickers Award, Sundance Documentary Fund, Close Up Initiative, Berlinale World Cinema Fund, Catapult Film Fund, Torino Film Lab, Docs Up Fund, and Flemish Audiovisual Fund, among others.
Ilyas is a permanent member of the pre-selection committee of the IDFA Bertha Fund, an international jury member of the Belgium-based MOOOV Film Festival 2023, and a producer consultant to several projects in different development stages, including “The Etilaat Roz,” directed by Abbas Rezaie, which won the IDFA Award for the best first feature in IDFA 2022 and premiered at Hot Docs.