Cinematography, the illusion of movement dating back to the 19th century has managed to inspire, leave its audience in awe and influence them in many ways than any other medium or profession.
Despite the industry not really having a single founder, I don’t think neither the Edison Company nor the Lumiere brothers, two giants in the industry ever thought the film industry would boom off to this magnitude. Its experimental beginnings have given rise to some of the greatest minds to have ever walked this planet such as Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Orson Welles, Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick and Akira Kurosawa etc.
Hassaan Islam, a young professional Indi film-maker with an exceptionally creative mind and an eye for creativity paves the way gradually into the Bollywood movie industry ever so silently. A Stanley Kubrick lookalike who obviously takes inspiration from both Hollywood and Bollywood directors, is seen casually scripting his next ‘big break’.
A humble director who most often than not prefers to shy away from fame or in other words the eye of the camera was interviewed in order to get some insights on what and how Hassaan Islam makes his short films. His short films have gained immense popularity within a short span.
MAIN KAUN HOON
We started off by probing into Hassaan’s background hoping to acquire some answers on his passion and basically this is what we got.
Hassaan, who considers himself a passionate film-maker with a flair for telling heart-touching, riveting, authentic and engaging stories through the means of emerging trend of digital trans-media transitioning towards producing digital content for multiple platforms is widely known in Karachi, Pakistan where he currently resides with his family and Snowball (his cat).
As someone who abides and follows the core principals in life, Hassaan is a firm believer of spirituality and the nature. This is depicted through his film “Faith”
Q: Were you a sportsman during your school days?
“Wasn’t much of a studious kid neither into sports. However now into health and fitness. Won best film award along with 5 others back in 2018.”
Lifestyle & Film Production
Q: When did you realise that you had a passion for film production?
“Age 13, when my dad gave me his mini DV camera. I was really fascinated with it and since then been trying to tell stories, capture moments.”
Despite Indi film-making being a keen aspect of interest Hassaan who claims “I am drawn more towards authenticity and preserving truth. In highlighting voices of the oppressed. My focus is more on realism than stylized videos.”
His love for the documentary ‘Beyond’ still seems to remain quite evident when inquired about it. “I still love the documentary film we did titled Beyond. It got quite some critical acclaim, raised a huge amount of funds for a great purpose. Challenge was to shoot in a remote area in very cold conditions where security was an issue too.”
Q: What equipment do you use and what sort of a set is generally required for a typical short film?
“Depends on scale and need of the project. Usually, I would use my Sony A7S, love the color space and it’s amazing capabilities to shoot great image.”
Q: Have you made any English movies?
“No movies. That’s perhaps a far-fetched dream. But short films, narratives, documentaries for English speaking audience and market yes.”
Q: How challenging is it produce a movie?
“Every project is a challenge and a completely different landscape. For me the biggest challenge is conceptualizing and finding the perfect story. Pre-production is also very intuitive yet calculated. It’s a blueprint where we have a board that commands the creative direction and the project benchmark i.e. in a treatment mood, feel etc. This is where we research, design, plan and assemble crew. Once this is done the rest is game play during production. Post is a very technical, intrinsic process where we have all the raw material and now it’s time to refine and make the master piece.”
“The film, advertising, and entertainment industry has its perks but I have found my calling in the digital, short form narrative world where so far life’s compass has lead me towards projects that are all about humanitarian, social development and community-based work. Now my intuition is pulling me towards the expansion of the collective human mind, consciousness, spirituality etc. and definitely I would tap into the global market if I get the chance to. Says the Indie film-maker. Guess we might have to wait a couple of years or till he changes his mind. We really hope he does; we’d love to see him in Bollywood and possibly featured on ‘Koffee with Karan’
Q: Have you collaborated with renown directors/producers?
“Yes, my mentor Jami and artist Nell Lyn Perera, both of which have guided me rigorously through and through.”
Q: What sort of aspects do you follow on social media?
“Personal Development, Meditation, Spirituality, Consciousness expansion, Learning and building new skills related to my work”
Q: Which pages, celebrities do you follow for inspiration?
“Garry Vee, The Futur, Ekhart Tolle, Russel Brand, Jeffery Allen, no celebrities!”
Q: Who has been your greatest inspiration with regard to the movie industry? Why?
“The usual Tarantino’s work has had a huge impact when I was a kid. Kubrick, Scorsese, Fincher and Lynch followed. Love Godard for his out of the norm style. Locally its Jami for his simplicity when it comes to style and his work ethics. I love Jami.”
Hassaan accredits Social Media for his rise into fame “It’s definitely opened a huge potential as such a big market without any intermediate. “You Just need to press the record button and shoot. Learn the basics. Expose correctly and find a stabilizer so there’s no shaky shots.” Says Hassan.
Location scouring, he assures isn’t as easy as clicking a button. It requires network coordinating, multiple potential location visits to envision whether the actual location would fit the scene etc. There are instances where the storyboard helps in making the decision. Subsequently, once you find the right location consider the technicalities, i.e. How sound-friendly is the location etc., natural light, availability of resources, electricity, logistics etc. he explains.
Q: Have you incorporated songs and dances in your movies? If so, who choreographs them?
“Songs yes, dances no.”
Q: Would you consider visiting Sri Lanka for filming?
“Definitely! Have heard raving reviews of the hills and beaches from friends and family.”
Q: If you were to travel overseas for filming where would you prefer to go and why?
“A lot of Pakistani producers go to Thailand. Perhaps because of low prices, crew and technical resources as well as the diverse range of locations from natural to studio.”
Before the conclusion of the interview we want to push Hassaan into deep waters with our lightning round questions. He had 10 seconds to answer each question, failing to do so meant he’d be subjected to a challenge thrown by our interviewer.
Three things to keep you occupied during the lockdown
- Learning etc.
What would your ideal Friday night be and why?
Netflix and chill with the missus
What movies or TV serials do you watch?
Currently hooked on to Mad Men.
Where do you fancy going out the most and why?
Natural scenic places to connect with nature
When you go outstation, which locations do you prefer?
Beaches and mountains
Do you read? If so, what kind of books?
Ahmmm…The Code of the extraordinary mind by Vishen Lakhiani
Would you shave your hair off for a Social Media challenge or a dare?
We couldn’t get him to take more than ten seconds to answer any question unfortunately but he will do a different type of a Social media challenge soon
Hassaan Islam is a budding Pakistani short film director who currently is a part of Aperturewood Films & Creative Lunatic Films.
Article by: Lev Suriyaaratchy
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