Zayn Alexander is a New York-based actor and director of Lebanese origin.
Alexander was born and raised in a small town outside of Beirut, Lebanon. He attended college at the American University of Beirut. Though, initially, Alexander hoped to earn a degree in Fine Arts to pursue a career in Theatre and Film, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
After graduating college, Alexander moved to New York City to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Psychology at Columbia University, where he completed the two-year program. While in New York, Alexander seized the opportunity to pursue his initial passion of performing, enrolling in a Master Acting Class at Penny Templeton Studio and joining The Complete Theatre Company (TCTC). During this time, Alexander booked the lead role in the film "The Defector" directed by Lit Kilpatrick. The film went on to become the official selection at the 2012 Big Apple Film Festival and the 2013 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. Another performance highlight was the lead role in the Educational Theatre of New York’s (ETNY) spring production of "Socrates on Trial." ETNY’s productions are frequently featured in notable press, including the New York Times as they serve to be an educational theatrical platform to New York City schools. Soon after, Alexander enrolled at the recognized T. Schreiber Studio and the Atlantic Acting School to continue his acting training.
Since this time, Alexander has booked a myriad of film and theater roles including the lead in "Jannah," which was filmed between New York City and Istanbul, Turkey. "Jannah" was directed by Matias Maumus, a filmmaker whose work has screened at the Boğaziçi Film Festival in Istanbul and other notable venues. The film went on to be featured on infobae.com, an online Argentinean live TV channel and other notable Argentinean press. Other films worth mentioning include: "The Circle," which was selected to screen at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival in the Short Film Corner, and "Guarded," which was selected to screen at the 2015 New Filmmakers NY Summer Screening Series and the 2015 Los Angeles International Short Film Festival. Additional theatre highlights include the lead in the Between the Seas' production of "Could You Please Look Into the Camera?" Between the Seas is the first and only festival in North America focusing on contemporary Mediterranean performing artists that runs annually in New York City.
Alexander was recently cast in the short film "Like Salt" directed by Darine Hotait. Hotait's films have screened at top festivals such as HBO's Outfest. "Like Salt" wrapped its production in the summer of 2017 in New York City. The film opened the 10th Marfa Film Festival, and was an official selection at the 13th Cinetopia Film Festival and the 15th Fear No Film at Utah Arts Festival. "Like Salt" had its international premiere at the Festival Des Cinemas Arabes (Institut Du Monde Arabe) in July of 2018 at the Arab World Institute in Paris, France.
Alexander was also recently cast in a supporting role in the short film "Aleppo" starring Laetitia Eido, star of the NETFLIX show "FAUDA". The film wrapped its production in May of 2018 and is scheduled for release in 2019.
In August of 2017, Alexander starred in and directed the acclaimed short film "Abroad". "Abroad" is an intimate foreign drama that explores the life of an immigrant couple and the potential collapse of their American dream. The film made its world premiere at the 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival in competition to a sold-out crowd. SBIFF is a long-respected staple of the international film circuit and is an Oscar-qualifying showcase for American independent cinema alongside many of the best films from every corner of the globe. The film generated enough buzz to draw the attention of The Beach Reporter. "Abroad" made its New York Premiere at the 2018 SOHO International Film Festival in June 2018. The film played in competition and picked up a nomination for "Best Showcase Short Film". Following its New York premiere, "Abroad" was invited by The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) to screen as part of IFP's "Made in NY Media Center" new short film screening series. IFP is the nation’s oldest and largest not-for-profit advocacy organization for independent filmmakers.
In August of 2018, "Abroad" made its Australian premiere at the the 2018 St. George Bank Lebanese Film Festival August 16 - September 1 in Sydney, Australia. The film premiered on August 26, 2018. Ziad Doueiri's Oscar Nominated film "The Insult" inaugurated the festival in its 7th edition.
In September of 2018, "Abroad" made its MENA (Middle East and North Africa) premiere at the 13th Lebanese Film Festival at Beirut Souks CINEMACITY. Nadine Labaki's Cannes Jury Prize Winner "Capharnaüm" inaugurated the festival in its 13th edition.
In October of 2018, Alexander directed and starred in the film “Manara”. In association with Premiere Film, “Manara” made its world premiere at the 76th Venice Film Festival (Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica della Biennale di Venezia) in the Giornate degli Autori section (Venice Days) at the Villa degli Autori at the Venice Lido on September 4, 2019. The film was initially presented during the 5th edition of “Laguna Sud, The Cinema outside the Palace” (Laguna Sud - Il Cinema fuori dal Palazzo) where it took home the “Laguna Sud Award”. Laguna Sud was conceived and directed by Andrea Segre (founder of Zalab) and Giorgio Gosetti (artistic director of Venice Days). The jury, composed of director Paola Randi, director of photography Valerio Azzali and writer Francesco Targhetta awarded Manara the top prize.
In addition to his background in Psychology, Alexander also carries a Master of Science degree in Public Relations and Integrated Marketing from New York University.
Zayn is repped by John Shea, Talent Agent/Head of the Agency at Frontier Booking International.