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Senior Vice President of Production, Fox Searchlight Pictures

Zola MasharikiZola Mashariki is currently Senior Vice President of Production at Fox Searchlight Pictures in Los Angeles. Mashariki began her tenure at Fox Searchlight in May 2000 as a production intern. Since then, she held the positions of Creative Executive, Director of Production, Vice-President and has been Senior Vice President since 2008.  During this time, she worked on a number of feature films including: Sean Durkin’s MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (currently in release), Mike Cahill’s ANOTHER EARTH, Mark Romanek’s NEVER LET ME GO, Sanaa Hamri’s JUST WRIGHT, Rick Famuyiwa’s OUR FAMILY WEDDING, George Tillman’s NOTORIOUS (the biggest opening for a Fox Searchlight film), Gina Prince-Bythewood’s THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES, Tamara Jenkins’ THE SAVAGES, Mira Nair’s THE NAMESAKE, Pieter Jan Brugge’s THE CLEARING, Jim Sheridan’s IN AMERICA, James Ivory’s LE DIVORCE and Denzel Washington’s ANTWONE FISHER. Her upcoming release is John Madden’s THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, starring Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Dev Patel.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Mashariki is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School. At Harvard, she worked as research assistant to the late Judge A. Leon Higginbotham and was a Teaching Fellow in the Afro-American Studies department with Professor Cornel West.

After law school, Mashariki practiced corporate law at Proskauer Rose LLP in New York, focusing on mergers and acquisitions and securities transactions. She also represented the late playwright August Wilson, and co-founded with him the African Grove Institute for the Arts (AGIA), the first national black theatre organization.

Mashariki moved to Los Angeles to attend the Peter Stark Producing Program at University of Southern California, where she produced her first short film in Cameroon, West Africa.

She created the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Filmmaker Workshop 101 sponsored by Fox Searchlight Pictures, a course designed to teach young filmmakers about writing, producing and directing feature films in 2004.

In 2010, Mashariki joined the faculty of the University of Southern California in the School of Cinematic Arts where she teaches “Advanced Producing” to graduate film/MFA students.