Hammad Zaidi, a disabled kid with a rail-thin left arm, useless hand a cowboy limp, watched a documentary on the clubbing of harp seals with his little sister Mona. All of the snow-white pups perished, except for one called “The Lonely Seal.” The name stuck, as did Hammad’s intent to make the world a better place.

A few decades and several charitable endeavors later, Hammad started judging film festivals. His first opportunity was at Flickerfest in Bondi Beach, Australia in 1997, a timeless experience where he and his fellow judges would dive into the ocean in between screenings. From there, Hammad went on to become a judge, world cinema screener, filmmaker advisor, panelist, screenwriting contest founder/judge, program curator, advisory board member, and or sponsor at multiple film festivals, including, but are not limited to, SundanceSlamdance, and SXSW. Hammad also produced and wrote independent films and TV, started an international film distribution company, wrote 300+ published film-industry related articles (256 of which were posted on FilmThreat) and became a member of the Producers Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America along the way. Then, in 2018, The Lonely Seal Film, Screenplay and Music Festival was born.