UP-lad Faizan Kareem’s film script wins int’l grand prize
Actor, writer and director Faizan Kareem’s latest script Astray is on the right path! The UPite’s script was recently declared grand prize winner of the BlueCat Screenplay Competition 2021 in the US.
“There were almost 7,500 scripts, out of which 4,388 were in features category and my script was adjudged grand prize among all. The script is about a widowed Muslim doctor who also happens to be an aspiring Imam. He grapples with his faith when his child reveals their transgender identity,” said Faizan on phone.
Born in Gorakhpur to doctor parents, he is married to Shriya Gupta, a Lucknowite. The young filmmaker shifted to the US after his wife got through Yale School of Management.
“During my discussions with LGBT champions at Yale University in New Haven, I got to know about the challenges they face. So, I started writing my script in September and after multiple drafts came up with the final script in February and submitted it,” he said.
He is now looking forward to agents and managers in Hollywood to get on board. “Since I am a film maker, I am open to direction. Ideally, I want someone from the transgender community or a woman director to helm the project or be its important part. I am highly impressed with Oscar winning director Chloé Jhao. I wish a trans-gender plays the character I have sketched as it is a very deep subject as it has two conflicts — gender and religious identity.”
About himself, Faizan said, “After Gorakhpur, I studied in Dehradun for eight years, did mass communication course from Delhi and then Master’s in Filmmaking from Los Angles (2009). There I made my first professional script The Knowing of Ali, a short film on radical Islamic terrorism which I wrote and directed. I also acted in it. Then I also made Shylock, Sabka Malik Ek and last year Zoombusting sketches during lockdown.”
His first feature film as director Morjim is ready and since theatrical releases are not happening, he is in talks with streaming platforms. “It’s a typical masala Bollywood film that I shot in Goa. It is targeted for youth Indian audience and features Rohit Nayyar, Dipannita Sharma, Manjot Singh, Murli Sharma and Sharad Saxena.”
He is combining his eight years of experience in film making in India and 4-5 years in America to showcase his craft. “I am focusing on sharing space with multi-disciplinary artistes with thrust on acting and writing. Direction comes thereafter.”
As actor he has shot for English feature film NYC is Dead, directed by Yasir Masood. “I played the lead character. It’s a Hollywood film, story of an American citizen. I have acted in all my films as I feel my creative voice is stronger when I act — it does not matter whether the role is big or small.”