003.5 - Bassam Tariq [WGA Mini-season]
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This is the third episode in the WGA inspired mini-season. A break from the usual "Directors on Directing," this season is focused on the granular mechanics screenwriting. Each of these conversations were recorded as a part of a remote writer's group that I ran in early 2020. Though they weren't ever intended to be released publicly - given the WGA (and now SAG) strikes, I thought it would be a small act of solidarity to bring our attention back to the work that goes into the creation of the screenplay This episode features a conversation with BASSAM TARIQ. Bassam was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and later migrated to the United States, where he grew up in Queens, New York. His dual-cultural upbringing significantly influenced his work, providing him a distinctive lens through which to explore and portray complex issues related to identity, belonging, and the immigrant experience. Tariq's debut feature film, "These Birds Walk," premiered at South by Southwest in 2013 and was named one of the best indie films of the year by The New Yorker. In 2019, he directed "The Ghosts of Sugarland" - a documentary short he wrote and directed about his post-9/11 high school experience. The film premiered at Sundance in 2019. He then directed "Mogul Mowgli" in 2020, starring Riz Ahmed, which earned rave reviews for its exploration of diaspora identity and the physical and emotional toll of ambition. The film premiered at Berlinale in 2020. Throughout his career, Tariq has consistently demonstrated his ability to deftly intertwine personal narratives with broader societal themes and his profound dedication to storytelling continues to resonate powerfully in the work he creates. In this conversation we specifically discuss page count, finding and maintaining a "voice", the movement from documentary to narrative storytelling, and the importance of protecting your vision.
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