Shady Hanna: Harnessing Cinematography to Capture Humanity’s Essence

by Tom White

As far as entertainment is concerned, you will be hard-pressed to find a more communicative or compelling medium than film. Whether you are searching for a humorous escape from daily life or a reflection of your deepest emotions, films have a special way of encapsulating the human spirit. Unfortunately, the power of film can be quickly smothered by poor cinematography, which places an unparalleled and robust importance on the form. Shady Hanna is an imaginative and refreshing director of photography (DP) and filmmaker whose work surpasses boundaries, capturing humanity’s rawest emotions and most authentic moments on screen. With an ardent eye for detail and a profound understanding of storytelling, Shady has effectively established himself as a rapidly growing name in the film industry, earning accolades for his work on both narrative and commercial projects.

Growing up in Cairo, Egypt before settling in Toronto, Canada, Shady’s multicultural background has contributed profoundly to his artistic vision. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in film production from York University, Shady set out on a journey that would lead him to the vanguard of cinematography. With a bottomless commitment to infusing each frame with authenticity, humanity, and emotional resonance, Shady has set himself apart as a truly exceptional cinematographer. Shady somehow finds a way to capture the genuine palpability of the fine threads weaving through human nature, from the grace of ballet in Swan Song or the rugged exquisiteness of the Indian jungle in Junglefowl, Shady’s work is blatant evidence of his stout passion for storytelling.


Effectively a strategic technician behind the camera, though primarily a creative collaborator, Shady’s approach to cinematography goes far beyond technical expertise, aiming to translate the director’s vision into a visual language that genuinely resonates with audiences, and his unique approach has not gone unnoticed. Shady’s talent and perseverance have earned him two Canadian Society of Cinematographers nominations for his work on Swan Song and Junglefowl. Additionally, his commercial work has been featured during the U.S. National Broadcast of the 2023 Super Bowl for PetSmart x Purina and the Canadian National Broadcast of the 2024 Super Bowl for Belair Direct.

Shady’s narrative work has garnered massive acclaim at prestigious international film festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, and more. In 2023, he received the Best Cinematography award at the Brooklyn Film Festival for Junglefowl and was also honored at the Telly Awards in 2021 for Breaking the Chains. Of course, those accolades throughout his career have not come without several hurdles along the way. From tight budgets to difficult shooting conditions, Shady has discovered a way to persevere through adaptability and resourcefulness. Simply put, he has learned to overcome each hindrance by delivering visually compelling work that exceeds expectations.


Looking forward, Shady remains devoted to expanding his creative horizons within the realm of insightful, feature films and high-level commercials. He aspires to collaborate with far-sighted directors, crafting visually captivating and emotionally enthralling narratives that reverberate with audiences worldwide. Shady Hanna is not just a DP but an enigmatic storyteller with a philosophical vision and the foresight of a true artist. His work speaks volumes about his passion for cinema and his dedication to showcasing the essence of humanity on screen. As Shady continues to push the boundaries of cinematography beyond the standards, he remains poised to leave a lasting impact on the film industry and inspire both audiences and fellow filmmakers.

Presented by APG

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