Hot Shots: Omar Majeed: Muslim punk

Muslim punk

Omar Majeed

Occupation: Filmmaker, Eye Steel Film

Schooling: York University, International Academy of Design for video editing

In a few weeks Omar Majeed will be road-tripping across America guerrilla-style shooting his latest film project, Taqwacore, a low-budget indie doc about Muslim punks. "After 9/11, I started to become interested in my own thoughts, feelings and confusions about Islamic issues – all the things I think most Muslims went through in the West," says Majeed.

For the award-winning director (he already has a Gemini under his belt), formerly a CityTV producer, financing this latest film is still an uphill battle. Majeed works days with local indie company Eye Steel Film doing post-production on documentaries.

What were your formative experiences? Even before I started falling in love with cinema, it was more the technology and tools I gravitated towards. My dad always had to have the best new technologies, and when we were kids, my brother and me would make silly little films, parodies with his cameras. I think one of our better ones involved a guy with secret powers who could make things disappear, including his family.

How did you come to be doing what you do? I dropped out of York film school after three years. I learned how to edit on Avid at the International Academy of Design. Eventually I worked at CityTV in Toronto. That was really my film school. When I got to Montreal I worked with the NFB through the Reel Diversity program, which is how I started working on the early stages of my latest documentary. Then I hooked up with Eye Steel Film.

Why do you love it? The truthful answer is I don’t really know – 95 per cent of it is ulcer inducing. But I guess it’s never routine. Making a film is like hanging out with the crazy friend in screwball comedies who takes you to places you wouldn’t expect to go. I’m not the kind of guy in my normal life who would find himself in Harlem at 3 a.m. in the morning with a bunch of Muslim punks! But because of this project it forces me out of my shell and into these situations.

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Visual Arts