Zyara is a documentary web series that depicts intimate portraits of various individuals sharing their hopes and dreams, stories about love, fears and their most memorable experiences.

“Zyara” is an Arabic word that means “Visit” in English. Zyara promotes oneness by exploring universal human emotions, away from religion, politics or anything that separates us. Zyara underlines our uniqueness through its visual expression.

Zyara is a borderless and a limitless web-series. It is addressed to every human being on this planet.

What was the purpose behind shooting the episodes without revealing the identity of who was speaking?
The purpose is to avoid the viewer from passing judgement on the physical look of the person and instead focus more on what they are saying.
We wanted to portray them through their personal layers, by caressing them through extreme close-ups and revealing them at the end.
It makes the experience more immersive to be listening to them, feeling with them and then discovering them at the end.

What was the most difficult challenge you had to overcome in production, and how did you go about it?
There was no difficulty to overcome really. Everything went very smoothly. The team committed to Zyara effortlessly and they believed in its necessity equally. We all had similar needs to express ourselves through it. Zyara is our way of loving the world.

Have you achieved the goals you set for this series?
The goal is massive; we are still at the beginning of our journey!

Our aim is to film a season – 12 episodes – in every country in the world or at least for as long as our hearts beat. We want to unite the planet on our platform through Zyara, even if it is for 5 minutes; we want oneness to be felt cinematically.

We are still at the beginning of our journey, enjoying every second and looking ahead for the next season.

What do you want audiences to take away from your series?
Emotions. Love. Empathy. We want the audience to open their hearts and dive into someone else’s skin and life.

How long have you been making web series for?
We started working in 2009 on Shankaboot (Emmy award winning) web series funded by the BBC trust fund and produced by Batoota Films. Denise was the production manager and Muriel was the cinematographer.
Zyara was born in 2014. We started by producing 4 episodes. We then travelled to many web fests in 2015/2016 and won 11 international awards.

In December 2015, we decided to let “Zyara” out on social media. People were hooked instantly so we continued producing another 8 episodes so that we could have a full season to distribute internationally.

How do you finance your series?
Season one is self-funded; the Zyara makers offered their services until now. We are now finalizing a distribution deal so we can pay them for their services and find new sponsorships and funding resources to keep producing new episodes.

What’s special or different about your series?
We don’t know. We don’t compare. One thing is for sure; it is our way of existing and fighting war, violence, hatred, fanaticism, racism and everything destructive in the world.

A bit about the Zyara-makers:
Denise Jabbour is the main trigger behind Zyara. Her passion in life is to listen to people telling stories and it is her passion which pushed us all on this amazing adventure.

Muriel Aboulrouss is the director and cinematographer of Zyara. She is the first woman to be a cinematographer in the Arab world. Zyara is her directorial debut.

Liliane Hanbali is the editor of Zyara. She is also the owner and managing director of a production house in Lebanon called Wahm, as well as being an editing teacher at the Lebanese American university of Beirut.

Mouhab Chanehsaz is the oldest sound engineer in Lebanon at 43 years old. He has been working in this field since he was 16 years old and everything he learned was from experience. He is the best at what he does.

Khalil Abourrousse, Muriel’s brother, is the colourist. His vast experience stems from having self-taught himself on Photoshop and photo printing. He now owns Lilapost an amazing postproduction boutique in Lebanon.

Rachelle Noja is a Lebanese cinematographer who has shot two feature films and many short films. She works as a camera assistant with Muriel as they have been friends and colleagues for a long time. She is a very talented and passionate member of the team.

Zyara on the web:
Zyara’s Website
Zyara on Facebook