This Muslim woman filmmaker rocks!

I love the way we can find so many cool women doing amazing things all over the world and even right here across the United States. I’ve been following Nia Malika Dixon on social media and have been impressed with her passion for not only making films, but telling stories that are not being told.

She’s currently working on a project that puts Muslim women in the spotlight and I had the chance to FaceTime with her and discuss how she got to where she is today, and what this project is all about!

Nia moved to L.A. in 2005 to pursue her passion for film. After working on sets for years doing everything and learning the craft inside and out, she decided to move full force with her own work: writing, producing, and directing.

Nia directing City In The Sea with Antar

Nia says ever since she was a little girl she’s been a story teller and has been fascinated with stories, “It started with my mom reading to me as a kid, and we spent hours in the library as she was a college student and I used to go to college with her as a baby. Education and storytelling are kind of the bread and butter of who I am.”

She says she moved to L.A. after being inspired by her cousin who’s in the industry. “She’s currently an executive with Warner Brothers and she sent me a book called Story by Robert Mckee, and that got the wheels turning and I thought, hey if my cousin can do it I can do it. And I made my first short film and I’ve been working in film for about 10 years. But my priority has always been my family and my children. I was in a custody battle to get my kids back and that took my priority…raising my children is my number one passion and now they’re adults, and now I can really put 100% into my production company.”

Nia shooting Vengeful

What spurred her to keep pushing through the entertainment industry was not seeing herself represented in TV and film.

“Being such a lover of stories, and just being invisible it was ridiculous.”

It can be hard to navigate the film industry in LA and Nia says that is definitely the case. She says a Muslim woman who’s also in the industry told her that Muslims may not see themselves in the mainstream in this generation, and that Muslims need to assimilate.

“I said oh hell no. I was like you know what? I need to do something about that. While I have the capacity No matter what my limitations are, I have to just do the very best that I can with what I have to push the agenda for authentic narratives. And so that’s what I’m doing. My production company is mainly focused on stories that are inclusive and diverse.”

Nia currently wrapped up production on a tv series about a police detective called Vengeful, and she says it’s the first time a black woman has been the lead in a police detective series since 1974.

The current project Nia is working on is called “The Muslim Women Series” and it’s about sharing stories of diverse Muslim women.

“It’s intended to be an adventure series, it’s not intended to be a boring story book, it’s like Vice for Muslim women. We’re going to get inside and give people a sneak peek, the real deal. This is me as a Muslim woman telling you what’s going on. I want people to have fun with it and get to know these people. Muslim women are so diverse. One woman across the world could be doing one thing and another woman somewhere else could be doing something completely opposite but we’re all Muslims and that’s what unites us.”

The first two women she’s featuring are a Muslim woman boxer who’s traveling to Thailand to train in Muy Thai. The other woman is a singer who’s getting ready to shoot her music video. Nia plans to shoot behind the scenes and follow them on their respective journeys.

Maria Khwaja

Kamilah Shuaibe singing like Billie Holiday

Nia says one of the driving forces as to why she keeps pushing through with filmmaking, despite how hard it is, is so that people don’t feel like they’re alone.

“Story telling for me is building a family and the ayah in the Quran that Allah says he made us into nations and tribes so we may know each other, is my mantra. I want us to come together and share our stories so we can know each other and better our communities.”

Check out Nia’s crowd funding page here to learn more about the project and how you can help get it off the ground.

And you can follow her on social media on Twitter.com/muslimwomentv and Facebook.com/niamalikadixon

Want to know about other Muslim women filmmakers? Checkout my past interviews with Lina Khan here, and Iman Zawahry here.