What is Zyara
Zyara the documentary series was born in 2014, and has since then evolved in its form and content to become a powerful healing tool promoting beauty, oneness and resilience.
Through its audiovisual language, Zyara bypasses judgment and allows people to connect emotionally.
Zyara presents an innovative and deeply personal approach to storytelling. These exceptionally moving web documentaries unlock the testimonies of individuals who have experienced and overcome a wide range of social challenges through courage, perseverance and resilience. They have a unique role to play in promoting social cohesion, underlining the qualities which people have in common rather than those which set them apart.
Zyara was born in Lebanon as there is an urgency to reconnect with others and inspire tolerance and acceptance amongst Lebanese citizens, especially after a long journey of struggle and war. The existing episodes clearly show the mission behind Zyara, through the content of every episode and through the visual language we chose for it.
Our motto is “Life is a Beautiful Zyara” and we truly believe that it is in our hands to make it so, no matter how challenging life may be.
Zyara has proven to be a much needed educational tool for awareness and empowerment especially among the youth. It is time we give equal value to our emotional healing in order to prevent our future generations from the darkness of bullying, depression, abuse and more.
We strive to abolish victimization and to remind our future generations of their strength and the beauty of their dreams.
Zyara is therefore working hand in hand with schools and educational institutions who offer this safe and essential space for expression. It’s lending its support to their mission in helping this rising generation speak up about its potential pain and turning expression into a tool for social healing.
We look forward to our motivational journey and call upon all schools to incorporate Zyara in their curriculum or activities. We commit to the social emotional healing that comes from sharing our stories and embracing the lessons learned from pain and struggle.
Declaration of Intent
It all started with this deep sense of curiosity I have every time I encounter people. Since early childhood, I have been amazed by human beings, looking in their eyes and listening to them talking. I always wonder what they have been through, what their story is, and how they became who they are today.
2014 was another year where Lebanon was going through unsettling and disturbing events, social and political; being a child of war myself, I felt the need to address the pain and the struggle we all go through by initiating the visiting of people, allowing them to talk and listening to their stories and transforming them into a tool for social emotional healing.
Together with Muriel Aboulrouss, who created the Zyara cinematic language by applying the intuitive film-lab process, we have been visiting people since 2014, and Zyara became a wave of love and awareness for the world.
Zyara became at the center of our lives. Every visit, every encounter is life-changing and so enriching to us on all levels. It allowed us to learn how to love every human without judgment - unconditionally.
To listen, to feel, to see the goodness in people, to touch their souls, we discover how similar we are; we all smile, we all cry, we all dream, we all feel in the same language. Even if we are separated by arbitrary labels, we notice that there are so many more things that unite us as humans and that we can find everything we need through love.
The audio visual language of Zyara
When Denise Jabbour first approached me to go and film interviews with people to ask them about their lives, I first declined as I wasn’t triggered artistically towards the idea.
In order to make it happen, we agreed on the following: I film what I feel and she asks what she feels.
This is how we started in season 1, I filmed only what I felt I was drawn to intuitively, without any thinking or judgment. I knew before I went on the first day of shoot (summer 2014) that I did not want to see the person till the end (I dreamt it) and I also knew that in order for me to write with the natural light, I needed to un-peel the layers within this encounter. The layers that I discovered along the way are made of skin, light, objects, and eyes…
The process of creating Zyara was like a channeling of a vision that was meant to be, the smooth flow of the edit and the simplicity of the process are really overwhelming.
Every layer that blends into another is a pure accident and magical!
It is a great challenge to use the same tools to paint a different soul every time. It is a journey to feel and witness the light around and within the person we visit, knowing that I need to grab it all through my lens, as authentically as possible, with as much love as possible.
Organically, With time, season after season, the language evolved in rhythm and pace. The tools are the same, the macro lens and the natural light keep dancing at the rhythm of our hero’s voice, a unique different dance for each but all leading to the light. The only rule I follow is authenticity.
Letting go of the thought process is the most freeing experience we can live as artists, it is an act of self-love and most of all it is a highly spiritual act where we connect with the source of all creation with no expectations just trusting the magic of audiovisual chemistry blending with the intention to discover and love the person we meet. That is what our intuitive filmlab is, that is what I teach, what I have to offer.
Every season Zyara changes in its pace and heartbeat but the purpose remains, like water it adapts and flows but its essence remains. Zyara is meant to unite us all under the emotional umbrella that makes us human.
Today after 72 episodes are being produced, I look at the canvas, I see all of them as one. filming Zyara is a meditation as it is for those who watch it.
Zyara was born blurry, slow, poetic, a visual painting of layers, and most of all an ode to the light (inner and outer)… Zyara’s visual style was born like that from my womb, my inner Gut feeling and I respect that because I truly believe that it is being created through me, not by me.
As an artist and creator of the visual language of this series, I am grateful and happy to have been given this opportunity by life and I look forward to witnessing all the possible transformations that Zyara & I will go through.
Cinematherapy with Zyara: a thesis
This research by Hala El Kouch sheds light and focuses on Cinematherapy, using the Zyara documentary series as an example.
No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.