Lena Khan is a United States born American-Indian Muslim writer and director. Her first feature film, The Tiger Hunter will be in theaters in many parts of the US on September 22.
The movie depicts a young Indian man, who relocates to Chicago in the 1970s to become an engineer- but when his job falls through, resorts to an elaborate charade with misfit friends in order to woo his childhood sweetheart.
Khan is the first Muslim woman who has directed a full length Hollywood movie, that has garnered critical acclaim and awards across the festival circuit. She has joined the league of film makers such as Mustapha Akkad who produced: The Message and Lion of the Dessert.
Khan got the idea for the film after hearing stories from her father and interviewing others about what it was like immigrating to the United States.
“One story he told was he had to steal a stool sample to get into the country, and I was just randomly telling that to somebody at my work,”I was at a production company at the time, and they were just cracking up, and so I just started asking for stories from other people, other immigrants, random things. People telling me about 13 guys sleeping on the floor like sardines, people sharing like one single suit and waiting around in their underwear and scheduling their entire interviews around it, and a lot of those stories are what came to be in the movie.”
Khan graduated Summa Cum Laude and received an undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles in political science and history-after which she went on to graduate from the prestigious UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Khan has spent years directing short films, commercials and music videos for international artists such as Maher Zain, while also gaining experience at noted production companies such as Participant Media (Syriana, The Help).
Her films and videos have received over 30 million hits on Youtube, won film festivals, and have been broadcast across the world- seen anywhere from universities to international embassies.
Khan has been profiled in USA Today, Teen Vogue, The New York Times and various other media outlets. She has won Sony Entertainment’s Television’s South Asian Excellence Award for contributions to entertainment, CAIR’s award for activism and now dedicates herself to making films that call attention to social issues, through fun and engaging entertainment.
Her first feature film, The Tiger Hunter, is one of the first feature films by a Muslim filmmaker to achieve mainstream distribution.
Khan hopes through the film and other work to help build the representation and understanding of Muslim and other communities- by using humor, the film has been sparking needed conversation throughout the country.
Recently, Khan sold a television show to a major studio and is now working on another television show, alongside working on another movie and children’s book.
The success of The Tiger Hunter helps support Khan and the representation of the diverse community in Hollywood-and the opening weekend’s box office is crucial for that goal.
Please buy tickets for The Tiger Hunter by visiting its official website here.