Hammad Zaidi, a disabled kid with a rail-thin left arm, a useless hand, and a cowboy limp, watched a documentary on the clubbing of harp seals with his little sister Mona. All snow-white pups perished except for one called “The Lonely Seal.” The name stuck. A few decades and several charitable endeavors later, from limping door-to-door to wrangle donations for the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon in the 1970s to donating to his alma mater UCLA for nearly 30 years and several years of contributions to film festivals including Slamdance, SXSW, Nashville, and the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee – Hammad has always tried to help make to the world a better place.
Hammad started judging film festivals in 1997 when he was on the jury of Flickerfest in Sydney, Australia, a timeless experience where he and his fellow judges would dive into the ocean between the screenings on Bondi Beach. Hammad went on to serve as a Judge, World Cinema Screener, Filmmaker Advisor, Panelist, Screenwriting Contest Founder, Program Curator, and Advisory Board Member at several festivals, like Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, Nashville, and many more.
In 2005, Lonely Seal Releasing, his distribution, sales, and production company, launched and began attending significant global film markets. The move made Hammad one of about 3,200 content buyers worldwide.
Hammad Zaidi has produced and written films, TV, and video games. He has also written 300+ film industry articles through his weekly column, Going Bionic, served as a journalist in the Cannes Press Corps, and became a member of the Producers Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America.
Lonely Seal Streaming was built to keep our film festival going through the pandemic-related public closures of 2020. Now, we’re here to stay. We welcome you to join us on our mission to “tell stories aching to be told” to help make the world better.