It is with great joy and gratitude that we announce that Wajd has completed post-production. It has been a tediously long, beautiful, and rewarding journey for all of us at Salam Films. The sound design came together beautifully and we had it mixed at Capilano University's fabulous new studio (thanks to Murray Stiller, Jeremy Therrien's previous instructor and sound design partner on the film). The colour correction was also completed with elegance and subtlety by our new friend Neil Thomson who worked for many years at Omnifilm.
So what now? Well completing the film is only half the work. The other half is getting it out there! We have been working with the film collaborative to devise our marketing/distribution strategy and have already applied to several great film festivals internationally which we should start hearing back from in March. Until then we will be building up our social media presence, reaching out to potential distribution partners, and generally spreading the word as far as possible. Some of the key advice we got from the film collaborative is that we cannot depend on film festivals or distributors to market our film for us. It helps, but with a niche film like ours, we should be looking be making direct contact with our audience as much as possible, which will in turn make the film more attractive to festivals/distributors. This is where you come in.
We are looking to spread the word to people/organizations interested in Sufism/spirituality, Islamic arts/culture, world music, West Asia (Middle East) politics/history, new paradigm activism (e.g. Occupy, Gezi Park etc.) as well as diaspora communities in general. This includes universities and academic institutions (ethnomusicology, religious/cultural studies, political science, international relations etc.) which we believe will be key in getting this film out there. The very fact that you are reading this means you fall into one of those categories, and more than likely know people who know more people (etc) that are interested. Please help us spread the word by liking/sharing our new WEBSITE, TRAILER, and FACEBOOK PAGE via email, social media, and word of mouth. We will also be creating a mailing list separate from Kickstarter (sign up on our website) in order reach more people directly. Please don't hesitate to message us if you know someone or an organization we should be talking to!
We are super excited to have completed one leg of the journey, and beginning the next... Enjoy the trailer/website and please let us know what you think!
Amar & Salam Films team
p.s. another email coming for backers-only regarding rewards
We are sorry to have kept you all in the dark for so long.. has it really been 5 months? Wow.. time goes fast when you're making a movie. Okay, well before we get into the updates we feel we should acknowledge that it has taken about a year longer to make this film than expected. Why? Well we could name a number of reasons, but there are two main ones. The first is that we underestimated how much work post-production would require, especially the tedious process of watching, transcribing, translating, and organizing roughly 80 hours of footage. The second reason is that Amar edited his first feature documentary by himself, and he is a meticulous perfectionist very close to his own material. Fortunately Amar has been working with a brilliant story consultant and has learned A LOT about storytelling. We regret having made you wait so long, but it has been a long maturation process, and in many ways we feel the film is its own being that slowly revealed itself to us.
Okay, now that's out of the way, the major update is that the editing is FINALLY DONE! Unfortunately we didn't make the Amsterdam Documentary Festival as we weren't ready. But there are many other really great film festivals and we have already applied to several of them. We also have begun sound design with our friend Jeremy Therrien. Jeremy has done sound design on many different projects and you can check out his website for more details. He also spent 7 years living in Turkey studying the ney (reed-flute).. could there be a better match? Check out the attached video Amar shot/edited with Jeremy, Vancouver-based Persian musician Ali Razmi, and our brother Wahid Gul playing music together!
Now that our editing hibernation is finished, we are shifting our attention back into outreach again. Our facebook page is now up and our website and trailer are also very close to being finished. We are also going to be consulting with the Film Collaborative for marketing and distribution strategies to get our film out to the widest possible audience. Stay tuned for more FREQUENT and REGULAR updates!
Salam Films Team
Hello Friends & Ramadan Kareem,
Wow, after months of work.. things are moving very very quickly all of a sudden. The first rough cut was finished almost a month ago. It was two hours long.. WOWZA! We sent it to several people, one of which was a long-time producer for the National Film Board of Canada who has been mentoring us through the process. The overall feedback was very good, and the consensus was, we needed to minimize the politics. Everyone agreed that it's very interesting but at 2 hours, something's gotta go, and music starts to get lost in there so I should save it for another film.. anyone interested?
ANYWAY, after just a week of making some major structural changes.. #2 was done and I must admit it was a much better cut. We are now working on #3 and it keeps getting better! Things are really starting to come together nicely and we plan to have this cut finished by next week.
Regarding film festivals.. we were advised that as prestigious as Toronto International Film Festival is, it's not for our film. Small documentaries tend to get overshadowed by the larger films with big name actors so even if we got accepted it would be really difficult to get media attention and meet the right distributors/broadcasters. So where are we going? Amsterdam! And no not to hang out in their infamous cafes ;) The International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam is widely regarded as one of, if not THE, most important documentary film festivals in the world. Therefore if we get accepted there (fingers crossed!), the film will get both a prestigious push and the opportunity to meet with the right buyers. The August 1 deadline is approaching very quickly but the editing is going well so we plan on finishing all picture editing by the end of this month and submitting it as a work-in-progress.
Until then I'll leave you with another crowdfunding campaign I think deserves your support. It's called Media with Conscience by our dear friend Shahram Vadhany. If you appreciate independent news with integrity, please support their campaign. Shahram helped us tremendously during our campaign by not only donating, but featuring us in an article and placing an ad on the Media with Conscience website.
And also a beautiful performance of Persian classical music :)
Amar & Salam Films Team
So we are about 2/3 way through the first rough cut of the film. Wow, lots of time/work.. so many interviews.. so much footage! When I first started this project, I had no idea that 3 years later I would still be working on it. It is coming together beautifully though and I am really looking forward to getting this first cut done in the next several weeks to show to some key people.
On another note, one of our wonderful backers, Alexis Erin York, has recently released a children's book app and e-book called The Story of Muhammad. She was really done a beautiful job in illustrating the life of the final prophet of Islam in a way that is informative, aesthetic, and accessible to children. I highly recommend you check it out and please spread the word to anyone you feel may be interested.
Anyway, will check in again when this rough cut is finished! We'll leave you with a beautiful short film by Vincent Moon called ILLUMINATIONS: Sufi Rituals in Harar.
Amar/Salam Films Team
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