NAZ + MAALIK, an independent film
A decade into the War on Terror, two first-generation Muslim teens – friends, classmates, business partners, lovers – spend their Friday hustling the streets of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. While deciding whether to tell their community about their homosexuality, Naz and Maalik’s ambiguous and secretive relationship unknowingly sets an FBI agent on their trail. As the agent grows convinced that the boys are engaged in "violent radicalism,” her pursuit becomes increasingly menacing and the stakes surrounding the boys’ hapless hustling and lies grow. What began as a struggle to protect their sexual identities evolves into a crisis much larger – a fight to stay alive.
NAZ + MAALIK is as much a personal film as it is universal. Through the relationship between our two characters – and their ever-growing dilemma – the film explores our perception and reaction to surveillance, as well as our notion of right and wrong, and the desire to clearly define it.
We see NAZ + MAALIK as many things: a love letter to the grit and color of Brooklyn; a cold-eyed reflection on the effects of surveillance and the War on Terror; a film about the parallels and paradoxes of national and sexual identities; a day in the life of of two lovers.
It is not a political film, but a reflection about our world today. While NAZ + MAALIK is a narrative, it is based on real people, living out their lives and facing real challenges
Our Goal // Your Support
On an almost non-existent budget we shot the film with a small crew this past summer in Brooklyn. Our crew worked with very little money for hours, days, and weeks straight, as we believe in the power of this film and the need to get it out into the world. Our goal is to show how a group of young DIY filmmakers can make bring an independent film like NAZ + MAALIK to life.
We shot NAZ + MAALIK in a way that blurs the line between documentary and fiction, using lots of improvisation and interaction with non-actors. (There were moments where passersby literally bought what our characters were selling on the streets.) Due to this rigorous production process, editing will be of utmost importance to craft a streamlined, tight knit story. In order hire a full-time editor, cover rewards costs, and get us launched into a proper sound mix and ADR, we set our Kickstarter goal to $35,000.
While our Kickstarter goal is just enough for a solid rough cut, $75,000 is the overall film budget and our ultimate goal. Every single cent raised on Kickstarter will go into completing NAZ + MAALIK.
Check out our budget to completion below.
We believe that once this film is “complete” our overarching goal is to spark dialogue on a macro-level. We intend to reach wider audiences invested in issues of surveillance and civil rights, the social and political difficulties facing minority communities in the United States, and the ongoing challenges of all ranges of expression.
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Your Good Deeds = Super Rewards
Since NAZ + MAALIK is as much a celebration of Brooklyn as it is a gritty love story that can only take place in its neighborhoods, we are offering a wide-range of kickass rewards made in Brooklyn, filled with Brooklyn love and pride.
Jay Dockendorf (Director) is a New York-based director who has written/directed music videos and short films. His first short, DR. FUCHS (2012), tells the story of a psychiatrist losing his grip when he discovers the onset of his hearing loss. It won the Audience Favorite Award at the Williamsburg Film Festival. His second short, VIGILANTE COPY EDITOR (2013), was selected by The New York Times for their Op-Docs program, and follows the search to uncover the mysterious vandal who corrects grammar on placards in the sculpture garden of Brooklyn’s Pratt University. It is the most commented-upon project to date.
Jacob Albert (Producer) is a New York-based producer who has produced several documentaries, short films, and music videos, most recently for the Brooklyn-based group X-Ambassadors.
Margaret Katcher (Producer) is an LA-based writer and film producer. While studying history at Yale, she produced several plays and films with her incredibly talented friends (see Jay & Jacob above), and then ventured to New Orleans for Teach for America, before returning to film.
Andy Hafitz (Editor) has been editing films since 1995. Along the way, he's collaborated with some of the leading directors in the New York independent film scene, including Whit Stillman (Damsels in Distress, 2012; The Last Days of Disco, 1998), Lodge Kerrigan (Keane, 2004), and Larry Clark (Ken Park, 2002; Bully, 2001). Two of his films have premiered in competition at Sundance: Braden King's Here (2011), a metaphysical road movie filmed on location in Armenia, and Cruz Angeles's Don't Let Me Drown (2009), shot primarily in Brooklyn. Don't Let Me Drown went on to win audience and jury at awards at many festivals, including Best Film and Best Editing at the Woodstock Film Festival in 2009. Andy's documentary credits include the street basketball movie Soul in the Hole (1997), directed by Danielle Gardner, and a number of David Schisgall films including the feature The Lifestyle: Group Sex in the Suburbs (1999) and the MTV show "True Life: I'm in Iraq," which won the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Network News Documentary in 2005.
Jake Magee (Director of Photography) graduated from Bard College with a B.A. in Film and Electronic Arts. His film Apsis was awarded best cinematography at the Maverick Movie awards in Los Angeles and has recently screened at the Cambridge Festival and the Kino Der Kunst Festival in Munich. Jake recently finished shooting his first feature film with emerging director Ben Greenblatt. Magee has worked as an assistant and electrician under some of the best emerging DP's in New York's independent film world on numerous projects that have screened at the Woodstock and Tribeca film festivals.
Dylan Metzger (Production Designer) is based in Los Angeles. Having received a degree in architecture from UC Berkeley in 2011, he has been working in production design ever since. This is Dylan’s third collaboration with Jay Dockendorf, and one of which he feels exceedingly proud. In addition to films with Jay, Dylan worked on over twenty projects in two years ranging from AFI student films, to several full length films, TV series, and numerous commercials for companies and events such as Apple and the Super Bowl.
Risks and challenges
We have faced several challenges in making this film. Most challenges arose as a result of our limited budget and our position as emerging filmmakers. We made the conscious decision to dive into making a feature film, knowing we'd make mistakes and work double time to correct them. Now that we have made our way through a rigorous production process, and have come out much stronger, we just locked a fantastic editor, the venerable Andy Hafitz, who will be instrumental in making this a phenomenal film.
There is always a risk that this film will get not completed as fast as we hope, which is why we have made the delivery date for the digital downloads for January 2015. Still, we believe in this project SO MUCH, and will continually work to get it done to its best potential, within an efficient schedule. That said, we have the rest of our rewards ready apart from the digital downloads, and cannot wait to ship them to you once we complete this campaign.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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