Sunny Ali & The Kid
A short Tandoori Western film.
Sunny Ali & The Kid
A short Tandoori Western film.
Sunny Ali & the Kid is a film about two trouble-prone Pakistani Cowboy musicians on a surreal adventure to play their song on the last radio station in a fictional post-apocalyptic wasteland called Pakistan, which is the exact shape and size of Texas.
It's a Tandoori Western--An adventure/comedy of cultural fusion and confusion satirizing the Muslim-American experience.
Hi, I'm Abdullah Saeed.
I produced and hosted a James Beard Award-nominated food show on Viceland called Bong Appetit, and another called Vice Does America. I also did a Webby Award-winning doc called "Mad Honey". And I play the weed-delivering Uber driver on HBO's High Maintenance. I'm currently co-writing my first film "Untitled Prison Dance Project" with Ben Sinclair for Fox Searchlight and New Regency. Please note that I did all this despite getting very poor grades in high school and in college. Tell your kids!
A lot of people tell me that I have a "dream job" because they've seen me on TV getting paid to smoke weed and eat carrot cake, but the funny thing is that I am actually a failed musician! Indeed, my dream job was to tour the world and play shows, and for a stint in my life, I actually got to do that in a couple of bands with some very talented dudes who also happened to be rebellious, dorky, and socially disenfranchised South-Asian-American punk youths, such as myself.
One of those bands is The Kominas, the perpetual posterboys for Taqwacore or American Muslim punk, with whom I had the pleasure of recording and touring. They create narrative music videos about exactly the weird and often uncomfortable experiences for Muslim Americans like "See Something Say Something" and not just being another "4 white guys" in a band.
In 2009, Kominas singer/guitarist Sunny Ali and I started a Pakistani cowboy punk band called Sunny Ali & the Kid. Here's our logo.
The idea is that we're a pair of brown cowboy musicians in this fictional post-apocalyptic wasteland called Pakistan that's the exact shape and size of Texas. We're perpetually on the road hoping our sound will resonate and we'll hit it big, but our mission is damn near futile because the world has already ended. Still, we press on, rocking our tunes for those left to hear them.
Sunny and I have been off doing our own things for a while and recently decided to revive the project and make some new music. And then we got to thinking... why not go a step further and create the world we envisioned in a film that is equal parts El Topo, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Bill & Ted, and Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid.
To help us bring this vision to life, we've got some very talented people working with us.
Director: Shal Ngo
Shal Ngo is a filmmaker who strives to bring the inner workings of the human mind to the big screen. He graduated from NYU in 2008, where his thesis film, the sci-fi horror short The Glow of a Warm Aquarium, took first place at the SyFy Channel Film Contest. Since then he’s kept busy in the narrative, documentary, and commercial worlds. He regularly works with progressive politicians and has created campaign commercials and long-form content for clients including Bill de Blasio, Bernie Sanders, and the ACLU.
In 2012 his documentary series Rockaway 113 helped raise money for Occupy Sandy. In 2018 his Vietnamese sci-fi shortThe Last Fisherman premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. And in 2019, his sci-fi series The End was greenlit, an international anthology show about the end of humanity.
Shal wants to blur the line between art and entertainment and push his audience to ask deeper questions about their own lives and preconceptions. He splits his time between New York, Los Angeles, and Ho Chi Minh City. He’s currently in development for Beta, his first feature, a sci-fi thriller about a refugee trapped in a sentient smart house.
Producer: BJ Levin
BJ Levin is a two-time Emmy Award-winning executive producer and showrunner. Prior to joining Wilshire Studios as Senior Vice President of Development and Original Programming, he served as executive producer and showrunner for VICE on HBO, which garnered eight Emmy nominations during its first four seasons, winning in 2014 for best Outstanding Informational Series or Special. Previously, Levin served as executive producer, showrunner, director and producer for several networks including A&E, Bravo, BBC, Discovery, Food Network, HBO, MTV, National Geographic, TLC, and Viceland. At MTV, he produced on the Emmy-award winning series, MADE.
Composer: Sam Retzer
Sam Retzer aka Sam Justice is a Brooklyn-based composer and all around cool gora (his desi in-laws all love him). He’s worked from Hollywood (Stomp the Yard) to Bollywood (Tere Liye from Prince), from Disney cartoons (P. King Duckling) to documentary tunes (A Band Called Death), and is now thrilled to lend his golden riffage to Sunny Ali & the Kid.
Locations: Danielle Afori
Danielle Afori is a location manager who has worked on HBO's High Maintenance, The Deuce, and CBS's The Code. Originally a short film producer, Danielle blended her producing skills with her love of exploring new territories from mansions and penthouses to any gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in California and New York.
We're calling in a lot of favors from friends and the stars of the movie are working for free (or leftover weed and craft services), but creating this film is going to take a little more than just elbow grease. Here's our estimate of what it's going to cost us to make this.
Cast and crew - 4,000
Pre-production - 3,500
Costume - 2,500
Production design - 3,500
Special effects - 1,500
Equipment rental - 2,500
Locations - 5,000
Travel and incidentals - 2,500
Post-production - 5,000
Risks and challenges
By setting this thing in a post-apocalytpic alternative universe, we're certainly not being easy on ourselves. But we've got some locations in mind and are cooking up some creative ways to make the fictional land of "Pakistan (Texas)" a convincing world. Our ideal location is Bodie, California, a ghost town about a six hour drive from LA. You can see some aerials of it here.
Our script is minimal on the use of guns and special effects, but you can't have a cowboy movie without a gunfight, so we're expecting a couple of scenes to be fairly elaborate in terms of special effects, and those will be our most costly in terms of gear and labor.
And our biggest challenge is getting the word out about this Kickstarter campaign, so even if you decide not to contribute, please share it through your social media! Any help getting the word out is as good as gold to us!
Thank you for your time, and hopefully your support as well!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)