Pillars Artist Fellowship

Our fellowship empowers ​emerging Muslim ​artists with the resources needed to pursue their greatest aspirations.

While Muslims are at the center of much of today’s news and entertainment media, few Muslims are in a position to shape those stories. New research from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative uncovers the unfortunate consequences this lack of access has on the narratives told on screen. As a partner on this research, Pillars Fund is making a commitment to invest in Muslim artists who can shift the lens through which our stories are told to one that is complex, accurate, and honest.

The Pillars Artist Fellowship—created by Pillars in partnership with Riz Ahmed and Left Handed Films—champions and mentors Muslim directors and writers whose presence behind the screen will be game-changing for the film and television industries. In addition to an unrestricted award of $25,000, each fellow will receive mentorship from industry experts on how to navigate the business of Hollywood, professional development and creative guidance in their fields, and access to a trailblazing advisory committee of award-winning Muslim actors, directors, producers and writers.

Applications for the 2024 Pillars Artist Fellowship are now closed. Please sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on future opportunities.

Please note: Opinions expressed by Pillars Artist Fellows and Pillars Artist Fellowship Advisors do not necessarily reflect the views and values of Pillars Fund.

Pillars Artist Fellowship Members

Fateme Ahmadi


Zeshawn Ali


Aqsa Altaf


Nausheen Dadabhoy


Imran J. Khan


Karim Khan


Myriam Raja


Nadra Widatalla


Farida Zahran


Ali Imran Zaidi


“Having a source of unrestricted funding for Muslim artists and storytellers will be game changing. Muslim communities in the US and UK are amongst the most economically disadvantaged, and yet currently there’s nothing else out there like the Pillars Artist Fellowship which really invests and believes in the talent pipeline. Had I not received a scholarship and also a private donation, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity that led me to where I am today.”
­— Riz Ahmed  |  Actor and Activist

Advisory Committee


Riz Ahmed

Bisha K. Ali

Mahershala Ali

Sana Amanat

Karim Amer

Mo Amer

Rosa Attab

Jessica Beshir

May Calamawy

Yann Demange

Mohamed Diab

Sarah Goher

Sahar Jahani

Zainab Johnson

Lena Khan

Nida Manzoor

Hasan Minhaj

Nijla Mu’min

Amina Munir

Jehane Noujaim

Aida Osman

Saagar Shaikh

Bassam Tariq

Ramy Youssef


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