Biography

Producer – Digital Storyteller – Journalist – Photographer

Rizvi is an award-winning multi-platform media producer who has delivered content for several national and international networks. Apart from producing news and teaching broadcast journalism, Rizvi has also collaborated with non-profits over the past few years delivering compelling digital advocacy campaigns and films. Rizvi started his career in 2001 as a producer and presenter with the state-owned English radio network FM-101. In 2003, he segued into News and Factual television.

He was a popular TV morning show anchor in 2005 when Pakistan experienced its worst earthquake in history. He was the first journalist to reach the most inaccessible regions and produced ‘Earthquake Diaries’, a documentary series in concert with UNDP, UNHCR and Pakistan’s security forces. He sent daily updates and live reports for the morning show and organized a massive Eid carnival for several hundred children in the survivor tent city near the epicenter, once the town of Balakot. The series shed light on the magnitude of destruction and helped in garnering international relief efforts. Upon his return, Rizvi advocated for a sustained rehabilitation effort and produced another documentary series ‘Hope Floats’ to this effect.

In 2006, he became a core team member of Pakistan’s first English news network. Covering stories from Benazir Bhutto’s assassination to ‘Operation Sunrise’, he managed a team of emerging producers and reporters while contributing to agenda and headline meetings. Later as a special projects producer, he launched Pakistan’s first first morning show which topped the ratings until it’s culmination. He directed and produced the daily two hour live show for over a year, introducing live outdoor episodes throughout the county. He is the first producer to secure permission and produce the show right from the volatile India-Pakistan Wagah border.

He has anchored and produced policy altering documentaries on topics ranging from pedagogic practices in Pakistan from a British perspective to saving WWF’s bird conservatories from extinction. His documentary about firefighters was screened across 30 cities under a UN led program. The film received accolades and has highlighted the importance of life insurance and medial facilities for firefighters in Pakistan. He recently worked on a documentary with TED’s Karen Armstrong, while contributing to online and print publications across North America.

His interest in communicating issues of social justice and change to diverse publics has recently resulted in a digital storytelling project focusing on stories of women empowerment and a series of educational animated shorts for under-privileged children. Besides serving as a multi-disciplinary instructor and a Jury member at Canadian media events, he has also pioneered Participatory Journalism courses at major private universities. He’s been invited to the ‘Living Library’ series across the Greater Toronto Area and continues to engage youth in empowerment and development initiatives. 

Rizvi is a mixed media artist with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Five Project which harnesses the power of social media to increase community engagement in the fight to improve maternal health and reach MDG Five by 2015. His work was solicited by advocacy agencies and featured as awareness content on multiple platforms in the aftermath of the 2010 Floods-dubbed as ‘the worst floods in history’ by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

His last overseas project in Afghanistan placed him at the helm of a US State Department mandated behavioral marketing project, where as the Creative Director, he led a team in designing the brand DNA of the local counter-narcotics initiative. The majors outcomes included over 300 TV programs and over 1700 radio program.  Along side designing local community engagement literature, magazines, comic books, sticker books and merchandise for the youth, he also volunteer to be on the jury of the much celebrated “Afghan Contemporary Art Prize”

Azfar recently collaborated with the Toronto Foundation on a series of capacity-building and social-capital development initiatives for the legacy programs of 2015 PANAM Games. Aside from conducting training session for a cohort of over 400 volunteer ambassadors, he is also a volunteer with a local youth collective to engage them in retrospective digital storytelling.

As the Creative Director of the non-profit ‘Institute Of Canadian Archives’, Azfar has been involved in creating audio visual narratives partnering with non-profits and profits alike. ICA collaborates with charities, non-profits, settlement agencies, and similar city-based initiatives to deliver custom workshops, trainings sessions and learning experiences to high performing teams.

Rizvi has been a member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, and the Documentary Organisation of Canada. He is the 2012 Ontario Media Development Corporation-DOC Toronto Mentorship Fellow and has received Mayoral Commendation for his work.