Archive for Islam on Film: Discussion with a Muslim Film Director

Islam on Film: Discussion with a Muslim Film Director

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 26, 2008 by Nur Meryem Seja

E-mail W. has more than a decade of media production knowledge, including newsroom experience. He is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Missouri in St. Louis teaching cinema, digital editing, and other media aspects since 1995.  He was the winner of the 1996 Emmy Award – Mid America Chapter for producing and directing “Plight of the Refugees”. Many of us may remember seeing his video on YouTube, a black and white production with an American Muslim woman sitting in front of the mirror. On one side of the mirror, she’s dressed in Hijab, and on other side she’s without it, as she “discusses” wearing Hijab. It is inspiring and true to the experiences of the Muslim woman and her veil. I sat down with director Farzad W. to discuss his inspiration for this video and the state of Muslims in the media.

What was your inspiration for your video “A Discussion”?

This piece was based on an article that I wrote on Muslim Writers Society’s website a few years ago. The dialog is based on true discussions between different women and also based on discussions with some Muslim women who explained their struggle about wearing Hijab. What “inspired” me was the strength of Muslim women who wear the Hijab. Hijabi women have always been on the defensive, and due to their kind nature (generally speaking), they tend to be patient with all the crap that they get. This video was meant to show that a woman who wears the Hijab does so by her own will and it’s not an easy choice, and it explained the socio-religious reasons for wearing it and for not wearing it.

How is studying and being a practicing Muslim in the film and video industry?

Being a “practicing Muslim” or a Muslim who cares about Islamic laws is really challenging in this field, at least in America. Studying it had its own challenges. For example, I don’t shoot kissing scenes or nudity, and I am careful with profanity and sexual contents. But at the same time, I received a lot of respect and support from non-Muslims and less from Muslims. This was really surprising to me. But I have to clarify something: even if I were not a Muslim, I would still stay away from sexual scenes because they are not creative at all, and I see them as a cheap shot to get artificial audience…audience who are interested in the nudity but not interested in the core message of the film.  Continue reading