Roj Eli Zalla

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Roj Eli Zalla

/ Director

My Story

Roj Eli Zalla joined Rudaw Media Network in 2017. He ran Rudaw’s Washington DC bureau until 2021 were reported on US foreign policy, towards the Middle East and important global issues. Zalla began working on Documentaries and human interest stories in 2021. During his years of working for Rudaw, Zalla has introduced Kurdish viewers, listeners and readers to some of the most important global issues. He began his career covering the flight and suffering of Burmese Muslim refugees. He was the first reporter of a Kurdish media outlet and one of several reporters from Middle Eastern outlets to cover the humanitarian disaster. The coverage was broadcast in Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish and English.

He is the only journalist from a Kurdish media outlet to have visited Guantanamo Bay through the US Department of Defense and attended several trials. He covered the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam and the G20 meeting in Argentina. He has covered the Amazon rainforest fires in Brazil and Australia as two major environmental disasters. Rudaw and Roj Zalla were the first journalists and media outlets in Kurdistan and the Middle East to cover these events live from the scene.

In Washington, Zalla was born in 1984 in Kirkuk. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Kurdistan-Hawler, and holds a master’s degree in war and conflict studies from Brandeis University, in Boston. Roj Zalla is currently a doctoral candidate at George Mason University, focusing on conflicts in the Middle East.

Director Statement

In this documentary, viewers are introduced to a range of characters, from older men who supervise every step of the hunt, to first-time honey hunters who risk their lives climbing towering cliffs in the pursuit of Mad Honey. While its tempting to focus on the hallucinogenic effects of Mad Honey, this documentary tries to unveil the extraordinary connection between the mad honey and the people whose livelihood is built around hunting this strange, rare, and expensive honey.

My Filmography

  • Year Film Title Description
  • Mad Honey Documentary In the lofty Himalayas, the Apis laboriosa, the largest bee species, produces Mad Honey when feeding on high-altitude Rhododendron nectar. This honey, containing intoxicating grayanotoxins, is collected by daring honey hunters in Nepal's Lamjung region. Risking steep cliffs, they use bamboo and local flora for ropes and baskets. Beyond its recreational use, Mad Honey is employed for medicinal purposes, treating colds, flu, stomach issues, and more. This participatory documentary explores the perilous tradition of honey harvesting in Nepal, highlighting its cultural significance, diverse applications, and the intoxicating effects on humans.

My Award

  • Year Film Title Award(s)

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