In 2009 Zia became the youngest winner ever of the prestigious “Genius Award” for film presented by The Stranger. As a director and cinematographer, he began his career shooting music videos for hip-hop artists Macklemore, Blue Scholars, The Physics, Jake One, and others. Often called “a master of light” Zia is highly sought cinematographer for other directors. Writer Charles Mudede wrote about Zia, “Through his technical knowledge of filmmaking and sharp artistic instincts he has been able to democratize 'the beautiful image' and make it accessible to people.” In 2016 he wrote and directed his first narrative film, Hagereseb, which was awarded prizes at US and international film festivals. He is currently producing, directing and shooting an independent story series for release in Summer 2017.