Having done the Professional Program in screenwriting at UCLA's School of Theatre, Film and Television (TFT), where she was nominated for UCLA's prized Nate Wilson Award for Screenwriting, Zarina in September 2017 also completed the screenwriting bootcamp at the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in Beaconsfield, UK, as well as being among the handful selected to 'Meet the Experts' at the 2017 London Screenwriters Festival.
Preceding that, she had made a 3-minute documentary during a 4-day beginners' bootcamp in San Francisco on documentary film-making. Called 'The Lost Souls of San Francisco' it was one of the two selected from the bootcamp for uploading to YouTube, where it can be seen.
The docudrama 'Flat 13' which she then wrote, directed, produced and narrated on a shoestring - and which was edited by the talented cinematographer and editor Steven Cholerton - was showcased at the 2009 Durban International Festival (DIFF) - co-hosted with the Berlin International Film Festival- where it was screened twice by public demand alongside the films of celebrated film-makers.
Nominated that same year for Best Director at the 10th Sichuan Film Festival in China out of 3962 entries from 62 countries, it was sought by the US's PBS TV channel for screening to US audiences. However, ETV, where Zarina was a staffer, did not grant PBS this permission, as the docudrama includes the last interview Nelson Mandela was prepared to give on camera, a scoop ETV (now eNCA) still covets.
'Women of the Sun', an international organisation encouraging and promoting women film-makers in Africa, was later granted permission by ETV to screen the film at downtown Johannesburg's popular Market Theatre to a packed group of youth across SA's racial spectrum, who in the post-screening discussion admitted they'd previously known nothing about Flat 13 and the group of young freedom activists - that included Nelson Mandela, then a law student in his early twenties - who would hang out at the flat rented by the revolutionary teenager Ahmed Kathrada, all often dancing the night away as they debated the path to a future nonracial South Africa, while fearlessly defying apartheid's laws forbidding inter-racial social and political gatherings.
This group included young women and men who were to become leading lights in SA, among them Walter Sisulu, Nadine Gordimer, Ismail Meer, Ruth First, Sophie de Bruyn and Hugh Masekela, to name a few.
In his autobiography 'Long Walk to Freedom' Mandela says of Flat 13 that it is is 'where the first seeds of non-racialism were sown and a wider concept of the nation came into being'.
To promote social cohesion, SA's Parliamentary Caucus in Cape Town and the Durban-based 'Democracy: A Work in Progress' have since screened this docudrama to audiences ranging from schoolchildren to veterans of South Africa's freedom struggle to highlight the fact that SA's minorities, white, Coloured, and Indian, fought in the trenches, alongside the African majority to achieve SA's democratically-elected government of today.
In honour of Ahmed Kathrada, who had rented Flat 13, and who passed away in March 2017, the film is again being aired across a global platform.