Zareh was born in Fargo, North Dakota into a family of musicians and grew up in Tehran, London, Frankfurt, Paris and New York, where he attended the Professional Children’s School and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, majoring in film and television. Over the years he’s pursued his interests in ancient and esoteric cultures, lost histories, and the lives of the forgotten and dispossessed through short and long-form films. His acclaimed documentary Enemy of the People, an oral history of the Stalin purges based on over 200 interviews, was broadcast on PBS and recommended by National Geographic as one of the three most important movies about Armenia, along with Sergei Parajanov’s The Color of Pomegranates and Atom Egoyan’s Ararat.
His impressionistic super 8mm short Elegy in Light won the Rosenkreuz Award for Best Foreign Documentary in 2018 at the First Hermetic International Film Festival in Venice. The following year the film was a finalist at the Intimate Lens Ethnographic Film Festival in Caserta, Italy and an Official Selection at the inaugural edition of Cine de los Muertos in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where it screened at the NSU Art Museum as part of the city's tenth annual Day of the Dead celebrations.
In 2019 the occult themed Crowned & Conquering, shot on 16mm, was nominated for Best Experimental Film and won the Theremin Award for Best Sound Design at the Hermetic International Film Festival in Venice, and was an Official Selection at the Psychedelic Film and Music Festival in NYC. Embers of the Sun, a lyrical study of prehistoric megaliths, was an Official Selection at the 30th edition of the prestigious International Festival of ArchaeoFilm in Rovereto, Italy.
Zareh's most recent work includes a folk history of the Armenian genocide and its aftermath in Soviet Armenia, told through the memories of orphans, refugees and their descendants, and a series exploring prehistoric monuments and the persistence of archaic beliefs in the rural South Caucasus. His article The Enigma of Space, about the mysterious Bronze Age monoliths known as vishaps (dragon-stones), will appear this year in the book “Vishap: On the Borderline of Fairytale and Reality”, published by the Institute of Archaeology & Ethnography, Yerevan.
He teaches filmmaking and cinema studies at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan.