Abdul-Azeem is the founder of Azko Films. He began his career as a copywriter and film director of TV commercials, after graduating from film school in Manchester. Working with J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather in the Indian Subcontinent, he produced ads for Pepsi, Philips, Whirlpool and over 30 other clients.
On return to the U.K. Abdul-Azeem worked in BBC Radio 4, producing a unique documentary portrait of Derek Beackon, the former BNP councillor, before producing and directing a range of television documentaries for the BBC and ITV.
Among his credits, he introduced Jeff Mirza, then the only British Asian stand up comic, to an ITV audience in Soft Target, in a do-or-die gig at Essex’s Circus Tavern. He made a biographical documentary on Cat Stevens, aka Yusuf Islam, also producing the music promo video to the artiste’s first single in 17 years away from pop music, which aired on MTV and GMTV. He also gained access into Pentonville Prison in 'Faith Inside,' for an exclusive BBC2 documentary which investigated the unparalleled spread of Islam in the jail.
Post 9/11, Abdul-Azeem worked for BBC2’s First Sight, in investigating key London Muslims and their links with the U.K. This resulted in a documentary film about Shazia Mirza, the hijab-wearing stand-up comic, for BBC2. In 2002 Abdul-Azeem was runner up at Channel Four Television’s Sheffield Pitch Prize for Documentary.
Abdul-Azeem directed a documentary about Gulgee, Pakistan’s leading artist, shortly afterwards.
In 2008, he wrote and directed 'Open Secrets,' a semi-autobiographical drama about the stigma and shame of mental illness in an Asian family, starring Saeed Jaffrey and Valmike Rampersad. The film won the Best Film prize at the 6th Buffalo-San Black & Asian Film Festival, held at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton, London, in 2008, as well as having official selection at a number of other film festivals. In April 2009 'Open Secrets' was screened on the Community Channel on Sky and Virgin.
Spoken Languages: English