IFH 236: Sundance, Hollywood and How to Break-Through as a Director with Qasim Basir



Top Apple Filmmaking Podcast

20+ Million Downloads

Right-click here to download the MP3

We have a very special episode of the Indie Film Hustle podcast today. Our amazing guest is Qasim Basir, co-writer, and director of the Sundance 2018 hit film A Boy. A Girl. A Dream. The film stars Power‘s Omari Hardwick and Meagan Good is the story of two people who meet in Los Angeles on the night Donald Trump is elected President of the United States. The film was just picked up by Samual Goldwyn Company for a theatrical release.


Qasim Basir wrote and directed [easyazon_link identifier=“B00I8H5AJS” locale=“US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Mooz-lum[/easyazon_link] (2011) starring Danny Glover and Nia Long about an African-American Muslim family and how their lives are changed by the September 11 attacks. The film received nominations from the NAACP Image Awards and Black Reel Awards.

Qasim Basir, A Boy. A Girl. A Dream., Sundance Film Festival, Sundance NEXT, Samual Goldwyn Company, Destined, Mooz-lum

Qasir Basir directing Omari Hardwick on-set of “A Boy. A Girl. A Dream”

Basir also wrote and directed [easyazon_link identifier=”B0788XDWB6″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Destined[/easyazon_link] (2016) starring Cory Hardrict. Basir won Best Director at the American Black Film Festival.


The film was shot as a true oner, meaning the entire film was shot in one take. To be able to achieve a 90-minute one-take cinematographer Steve Holleran frankenstein’ed a 50-pound antigravity rig and unconventional Sony camera and Panavision anamorphic lens combination.

Qasim Basir, A Boy. A Girl. A Dream., Sundance Film Festival, Sundance NEXT, Samual Goldwyn Company, Destined, Mooz-lum

Cinematographer Steve Holleran on the set of “A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.”

Qasim and I sit down and get raw, real and drop some MAJOR truth bombs on the tribe today. We discuss some the state of the film business from both of our perspectives, what it really takes to break-through and why he does what he does in the first place. This episode is truly eye-opening and I hope it resonates with you at your core.

Enjoy my conversation with writer/director Qasim Basir.

Alex Ferrari 0:03
Now today we have a very, very special episode of the indie film hustle podcast I have on as my guest today. Qasim Bashir. And he is the director of the film a boy a girl, a dream, which was accepted into the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. While he was there showing the movie, I was running around, shooting on the corner of ego and desire. But we did not meet on the streets there. We met at film con, on the same panel talking about directing and the business in general and Qasim and I really hit it off. And I told him that I have to have you on the show. You have such an amazing perspective on the business. And I want to hear what it was like going to Sundance doing all the things that you do at Sundance, and how he finally got his movie sold, how he made his movie, and how we got it off the ground. The whole experience of selling it to a big distributor which he's going to be getting a theatrical release with it as well, how it felt not selling his movie at Sundance, and also just in general, topics that are really important in not only in filmmaking today, but in in the world today. And we really get in this kind of raw conversation about, about the business, about both our perspectives from where we're sitting and watching the business grow and move in front of our eyes. And it is a very eye opening and intense conversation, which is a It was great. It was one of my favorite conversations I've had on the podcast. And I again, I thank him so much for putting it all out there in this interview and I really, really hope you guys enjoy it. And it's it's it's a doozy. So please, sit down and enjoy my conversation with Qasim Basir. I like to welcome the show Qasim Basir man, thank you so much for being on the show, brother.

Qasim Basir 3:47
Man. It's wonderful to be here, man.

Alex Ferrari 3:49
Yeah, thank you, man. Thank you. We We We met on a panel at film con. Where we we dropped some knowledge bombs and scared the shit out of a whole bunch of other makers.

Qasim Basir 3:59
I hope they stay with it, man.

Alex Ferrari 4:01
I know we scare the hell out of it.

Qasim Basir 4:03
It's no use to sugarcoat man it no use. Sugar coat.

Alex Ferrari 4:06
Absolutely not. But we did inspire a little bit. But you know, it's like a little you know, you give them a spoonful of sugar and then you punch him in the face. And that's kind of the way it is you kind of do both because if you just get the sugar, they're gonna get eaten alive.

Qasim Basir 4:19

Alex Ferrari 4:20
So first of all, before we get into all the amazing stuff that's going on in your life right now, how did you get into the business in the first place?

Qasim Basir 4:27
Oh, man, gosh, where do I start?

Alex Ferrari 4:31
I was born small boy, no,

Qasim Basir 4:34
Young boy. So I'm not so I let them jump around for a few significant moments. One, I took a class in high school. I'm from Ann Arbor slash Detroit, Michigan. Living in both places. When I was young. I took a class in high school. I fell in love with it. Never imagined I can make movies for a living. I didn't come up with much. I have four siblings is five less My mom struggled a lot. making movies just seem so far away so big, so grand, not something I ever imagined. So I played it safe. I went to college, I played football, I have a degree in criminal justice and pre law. And from the time I took that class from 17, through college, I would make little films here and there, just playing around with friends in the neighborhood, stuff like that. The summer before my senior year, I was at a family reunion in Natchez, Mississippi, my cousin's down, went to a party, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on the way back, we got in a car accident, I flew through a window of the car, and, and nearly died until I'm in the hospital. And this doctor, he keeps, keep checking on me. And I had a nurse who was taking care of us, I'm wondering why this doctor keeps coming in. And I'm like, you know, just be honest with me, I'm a football player, I get I can, I can take it. So he's like, you got these brain contusions, which are bruises on your brain. And with the next 48 to 72 hours, they could potentially swell. And you may not you may not live. And so when you're 22, and I'll face mortality, you know, it just, it really does something to you, at least to do something to me, it was the most important moment in my entire life, the most significant moment, because I laid there and said, God, if I go from here in the next two or three days, I can't really think of much as I've said, to this world, much I've contributed, you know, like, I just will be gone. And, you know, I think I started calling people that I know, just kind of like, just in case, you know, but I made it, you know, it's but I committed in that moment, to myself that if I if I make it through this, I'm going to do something that that counts, you know, some matters, which is what led me to make the kinds of movies I make, like, right, if you look at my body of work, everything I've made, I've tried to say something to the world that I think is is important, you know, and you know, it's it's, it's the thing about so so after that I went back and I finished school with that with that degree in criminal justice. That summer, I had actually taken the practice l sat prepping to take the real asset for law school, I canceled my appointment. And I went straight for this movie thing. And I just said,

Alex Ferrari 7:35
Oh, wait a minute. Hold on a sec. You had you literally went to law school. You're about to take the test to become a lawyer and you're like,

Qasim Basir 7:41
No, no, no, I didn't not the bar. Okay. I think go to law. So I was I was about to to apply to law. I was about to take the elves to law school. Okay, okay. Okay, good. I was gonna say, Yeah, I take an actus. Elsa the weekend before, in fact that those books from the practice Elsa are from the real asset because you did go through this whole like practice course. And we're in that truck that I that I flipped over and were burned in the accident. It was like, such a sign if there's ever got God was a subtle with you on that. What? If you wrote that script, I'm like, Man, it's a little on the nose. He's like, Hey, man, look, that's actually what happened.

Alex Ferrari 8:27
So literally, the car stopped, you flew through the window, and the books burned up. So God said, Stop what you're doing.

Qasim Basir 8:38
The car flipped the car flipped over I shot through the side window, which in itself is physics. Okay, so the imagine a car flipping, rolling over, shooting me through the side window. And the trajectory by which I had to fly at a 45 degree angle to go where I went inland wetland. Because if I fly straight up, I come right back down to the ground, right and I may not make it. If I come up the car as it's rolling over, it might roll over me right. So the split second that I had to fly at this 30 to 45 degree angle to fly into the woods and land was was crazy. And then my cousins pulled each other out of the truck and then it caught on fire. I can't make this stuff and the books

Alex Ferrari 9:30
And the car and the books caught on fire. So like God was telling you you need to go make some movies.

Qasim Basir 9:38
You know that was so then I just started making I went back to Detroit and I went through this period of like, grief sort of figuring out who I was. You know my football career was was over and you know, as a football player, you kind of take on this identity of tough on this and now this is all gone and You know, you survive something like that and look at the photos and the state I was in. It's all very a lot, you know. So I, so I went through this period, and then I made a movie about it called the inner inner struggle. That's a..

Alex Ferrari 10:14
Bit on the nose,bit on the nose, but on the nose, but go ahead, go ahead. When you when you identify so much with something like when you're young, you do that, because you're just trying to figure yourself out in general. But when you identify yourself with like, I'm the football player, or this or that, and that's taken away, you are just lost. It takes time for you to figure out where you are.

Qasim Basir 10:40
Yeah, I mean, because 910 years before that, you know, that's why everyone liked me. That's, that's what I was, you know, that's why I was popular, whatever happened because of it, that was all of it. And like, you know, I've, you know, my high school went to the state championship, and we got the trophy and we, you know, it's it's, that was my, that was who I was, you know, and so, yeah, that was the beginning for me and from there from making inner struggle, and then, like, I like will show it wherever I could and

Alex Ferrari 11:15
So real quick, how did you like did you finance it yourself? What did you just grab a camera and go shoot? Like, how did I put it all together?

Qasim Basir 11:23
Yeah, I I so I didn't spend any I just had a camera and some friends man like,

Alex Ferrari 11:31
And what camera Well, what just because it was it was a tape like it was a it was a mini DV? Yes, it was a mini DV. I had I actually have it around here somewhere. It's not a DVR to 100 day. Is it? Or is it a Canon? Can Can you hold on 20? sec? I hope not go look for it because we need to know. Okay. Canon hV 20. Okay, so it's a Canon HP 20. So it's just like the old school mini DV cam. Yeah, it's the old school mini DV here. It's not like I didn't I knew nothing about. So the point the reason why I wanted you to go find out what it was because I always tell filmmakers when they're like, Oh, well, you know, I want to make a movie and I but I need the red camera. I need the Alexa. Oh, God, just grab a camera and go shoot your movie. Yeah, yeah. Right. Like, just, especially when you're starting out, man,

Qasim Basir 12:24
Especially. Not only that, but especially now like, you know, you had this was an HDTV camera. So you got it. You have the tape and you got to import, you know, digitizing, digitizing, digitize, right, you have to digitize and you have to. Now you'd literally just drop that stuff in. You know, it's so much different in with the equipment now. And with the affordability of it. It's like crazy how much you can get down. But it literally was me and some friends got together. I my brother was in the movie. My cousin played the villain, you know, the antagonists? You know, and we were around campus like shooting and oh my god, it was a mess. Like, just the way we should? Like I didn't I my ideal you were doing? No, I didn't. I mean, I just you know, other than that class in high school, I hadn't taken another class that I had taken one acting class and college because I was into that too. But, um, but you know, it was it was just a grind of, you know, there were no permits, there. Were just we just shooting. And, you know, I don't suggest someone go and you know, I think in the, in the way of getting permits is different in different cities and stuff like that with cars, of course, you know, it was it was you know, and I put a little movie together and I will show it everywhere and pressed up some DVDs and sold them on the streets. It was I had them and my friend just reminded me put up a post on Instagram or something he just reminded me. It's like, Yeah, man. Remember, we're in a caste corridor, which is, which used to be like, dangerous, but now in Detroit. It's all gentrified, like nice. Like Brooklyn. Exactly. Gas chord or, and our movie because he does docs. And he's like, he's still doing a lot on his dock is on amazon prime. And, you know, my film just got picked up by Samuel Goldwyn. So he put up all these I remember, we used to have our movies at the liquor store, on consignment, you know, like, okay, man, if I sell any of these, you know, sell them for 15 sell for $15. Like the balls, I had to try to sell my

Alex Ferrari 14:37
15 bucks.

Qasim Basir 14:38
But I had a sign over just so people would know that. I'm from here, like, you know, sort of local because people in Detroit to see a DVD up there by a guy from there. That was more important than the quality. They were like, Oh, it's amazing. A dude made this movie and he's selling it.

Alex Ferrari 15:00
Dude, I did the same thing with my first short man, but I was selling in comic book stores, guys, so yeah, we all have to hustle man we orgasm no question. So, so this year has been a pretty amazing year for you. 2018 Yeah, your latest movie a boy a girl and a dream got accepted? I'm sorry. Boy or girl a dream. Others No. Thank you, sir. Oh, boy, a girl a dream. And then that movie got into the Sundance Film Festival this year. Yes. So that and you were there at the same time I was shooting my movie. Yeah. The trailer looks terrific, by the way. Oh, thank you, brother. I appreciate that. Man.

Qasim Basir 15:39
I love that story of because so many of us go through it. Just being at Sundance trying to put something together. Oh, my God is just brought up so much.

Alex Ferrari 15:48
You're the demographic do like filmmakers are the guys. I made this before. But we were both there at the same time. And then we met later on, first of all, and also congrats on getting distribution by Samuel go when you're going to get a theatrical release, dude. Yeah. Because it's not a guarantee. I always tell people like just because you're going to Sundance, there's no guarantee someone's gonna pick it up.

Qasim Basir 16:07
Right. And that's, and that's important. That part is important. And just to understand, you know, we left Sundance, we hadn't sold the movie. And in fact, it didn't sell till two months after, you know, and everyone's asking you, that's the first thing everyone asks you like, Oh, so did you sell your movie, did you? And it's just like, wow, this is this isn't stressful.

Alex Ferrari 16:30
And it's also it's also not the 90s when they were buying movies Left and Right,

Qasim Basir 16:35
Netflix didn't really buy much of anything. It's nothing. But they you know, I think they brought a couple things later. Okay. Amazon, Amazon Amazon was was not exist. And you know, as Yeah, so it's, it's, it's a real? Yeah, yeah, it was a real thing, man. And we had to be patient and we, you know, we held out and, and, and good on us for you know, my producer Dettori Turner, he was really, you know, intricate in that process. And hold now, like the last week, it's gonna be fine. You know, we'll figure it out. And, you know, then Samuel golden came back and, man,

Alex Ferrari 17:13
You're and you're good, dude. That's

Qasim Basir 17:16
Pretty company. I'm really they're really passionate about our film, they

Alex Ferrari 17:20
Well tell us a little bit about your movie, tell us tell, Tell, tell the audience what the movie is about?

Qasim Basir 17:24
Sure. It's, it's two people who meet and go on this thrilling ride together a journey together on in one night, where they fall for each other. They, they challenge each other? They, they they both sort of stuck in different ways. And then they kind of have this conversation about what do you really want to do in life to be and why aren't you? Why are you doing a little intense conversation? How on the first night, do you think what, what what pushes? What pushes that narrative forward? And I think what makes it kind of work is a lot of people. I think it because it takes place on election night of 2016. And I think a lot of people on that night or around that time were really taking inventory of where they were in life. And like, yeah, yeah, it's really figure out, you know, my place and all this and like, what I want to do, like, if I want to contribute, if I want to, if I want to be a party now. And so I think that that element on its own really allowed them to have these much deeper conversations that maybe you wouldn't normally have when we first meeting someone,

Alex Ferrari 18:33
And then you and you also shot the whole movie in a winner right? Yeah, yeah. Okay, so first of all, what made you decide to try to do a webinar for this kind of film?

Qasim Basir 18:42
So a few things. One, I love one I love I love bird making. It's on a ride and that they can't look away from Sure. Right? I love what they did with Birdman. I love you know, in The Revenant wasn't a wonder but they had these scenes view and you know that first battle scene, man. I mean, you will look up like why am I so into this? Oh, it's because I haven't cut what I haven't cut away to the wide exposure. I've stayed with them. I fallen off a horse. I saw arrow calm. I'm ducking. I'm literally like almost ducking. It's VR. It's almost VR, most VR man and I'm like, you know, it's the it's the next best thing to the immersive experience of VR. And I love that that kind of experiencing for him for where we are right now. As a country, man, it's easy to look away. You know, it's it's, and I think a lot of people are checking out you know, it's, it's easier.

Alex Ferrari 19:42
It's easier to check out than to deal it's Yeah, it's hard.

Qasim Basir 19:45
I mean, this stuff is hard, man. You're like, you're almost afraid to check your Twitter feed or your news and it's like, oh my god, what is what is happening today?

Alex Ferrari 19:53
I don't know. I don't know about you, but I turned off my notifications.

Qasim Basir 19:57
No, I absolutely turned my off my push, okay, yeah. When I want, you know, like, cuz I can't do

Alex Ferrari 20:06
Every minute like, Oh, Jesus, oh gee, yes.

Qasim Basir 20:08
Oh yeah. and you and you and for me it's like really understanding how this stuff works with my consciousness how it was, like filtering how much I actually bring in, you know, sometimes that stuff fuels me, you know, sometimes that kind of anger I have or, or disappointment I have a frustration with what's happening it fuels my art you know, and so sometimes I overdo it sometimes I need to see that stuff, you know, sometimes I need to see another, you know, young black man, you know, actually, I never need to see another one of those but like I, you know, I, sometimes when I when that stuff, it hurt it hits me in such a deep place that I'm that I've been learning how to transfer that and say like, okay, and for this film, this was my transferring all of those emotions, how I felt about the election into this movie.

Alex Ferrari 21:05
And now if you if you look at it, though, from a point of view of history, you know, when the Nixon thing happened, yeah, and the whole country went literally down the toilet, and everyone was depressed and angry. What came out of that was the 60s. Right, right, and the 60s and early parts of the 70s, which basically, they changed everything, there's a change that that decade changed the world. So sometimes you have to be pushed in another direction, in order to snap back to another place. I can't wait to see the film, dying, I'm dying to see and I really can't wait to see it. But sometimes that happens, and when you go through these kind of, you know, whichever side of you are on whichever side you're on, because it's it's different perspectives on both sides. Yeah, you know, some, some people are like what's going on other people don't like what's going on. But at a certain point, you got to go to the opposite direction to be able to snap back to a place you go into. And that's why I'm dying to see your film for what it is. And obviously, that's obviously one of the great reasons it got into Sundance, because it's not easy to get into Sundance, there's a few submissions.

Qasim Basir 22:14
It's a few it's a few. There's a couple this exists you please. Well, one thing I think is important here, as we as we talked about that, you know, people, people get disillusioned sometimes about the denial process. You know, it's it's important to know that before I got this movie in Sundance, over the last decade, I sent four things to Sundance. Which of which, none got it. You know, we all we all there we all. So yeah, this actually, I'm sorry that this is my fourth thing that I get to submit. So like I've sent I've sent some stuff there, man. And you know, none of it's gotten it. And so I've seen those, those those emailed those emails. Thank you for love was

Alex Ferrari 23:02
Really tough year, it was a really tough year, we it was a really hard decision to make this year. We regret to inform yourself. Go fuck yourself. Good luck. No, they don't say that. But they're actually really nice. They're the nicest fuse you've ever heard. Yeah. Especially from the big festivals, because they actually send out the little guys don't even send anything out. Yeah. Just see this enough to come out and be like, Damn, so. So then how did you? Okay, first of all, what was it like when you heard you got in? Like, what happened? The moment you found that you got in?

Qasim Basir 23:40
So so my fiance who co wrote this movie. She she's always on me about my voice. And sometimes my voice won't get full. And she's like, need to erase your messages. I'm like I get and, and in this day, I listened to her, and I raised my messages. And then the next day, I was working on I was working on something. I left the room, my office, and I came back and I had a message on my phone. And I looked at the message you know, iPhone, you can read the text. And it said, like, Sunday or something. I'm like, What? On Sunday, I'm like, Alright, Sunday to it. And they're like, this is this woman named Shari freeloader. She was like discharged from the Sundance Institute. I was like, Oh my God. And then I immediately without a moment, I was like, we got it. I know. Yeah, cuz they don't call you to say no, they don't call but there's there's sometimes they call you in there. Like it was so close. I really wanted to call you and just let you know. But there was something in me that was just I just knew like And I caught her back. And, and my heart was racing, you know, I just was I was, you know, it's excitement in this business, it's hard to get excited about stuff, you know, like, even when even when someone says, Oh, yeah, I'll do your movie, you kind of are like, okay, but

Alex Ferrari 25:18
That's like, that's like, for me, that's like four or five months old. And let's wait to the

Qasim Basir 25:23
Right, but this thing was like, was like this is happening. No matter like, short of some natural disaster, you know, this is happening. Right? And, and I call it and she sure enough was like, we'd like to, you know, we really loved your movie. You know, it was, it was one of the most unanimously approved of because they fight about movies a lot. As you can imagine, there's a lot of programmers there. And your movie goes through these different steps. Some people watch it, and then more people watch it. And then if it, you know, and so it's like, it's such a rigorous process, but she was like, this was one of the most unanimously I feel like everyone was like, Yeah, for this and, and that made me feel so good. And she made a few comments about the movie. And she was like, we'd like to invite you to premiere at 2018 Sundance told us and I, you know, I, I'm a football player. Took a knee. Knee, right? And I teared up a little, you know, a

Alex Ferrari 26:30
Little bit, man, you were sobbing like a baby. It's all good. You got allergy thing. Coming down. It's all good. It's all good. Viola Davis, you want us genius. That's amazing, man. I always because I've had a few Sundance winners on the show. And I always want to know what that feeling is like, because we all want that feeling. You know, is anyone listening to the show? Who makes movies we all want to get into Sundance man, you know, we all want to eventually one day win an Oscar, you know, or get into you. We all want to we all want people to go. I like you. I like what you're doing. Yeah.

Qasim Basir 27:07
And it's, it's, it's a great thing. It's, it's, you know, I so I didn't after just backtrack a little. After I stopped after that first movie, I my inner struggle. I was like, I was like, I got it. My aunt who's who's in advertising in New York, she saw it and she's like, you know, you got a lot of work to do technically, but you know, you there's something there, you got an eye, you know, you got angles. There's some things that you get performances out of people. And so I went on to like, you know, read every book, I could, I tried to, you know, everything I could do all the information, I just was soaking it in, and I still do, and I'm still everything I can to learn something. But you know, as a person who did not go to film school, you know, it's always to have something like Sundance under my belt now, you know, it means a lot and to have, and I think it means even more that I tried to get in a number of times. And you know, it was wildly significant for me, man, you know, I made a movie called destiny that came out late last year, which was in a bunch of festivals, won a number of awards. And like we premiered at the LA Film Festival and American black Film Festival where I won best director and actor lead actor one Best Actor recording How do you know that movie was last year? And that one didn't get it? You know? Um, so I I just gone through another Thanksgiving that thinks that Sunday has ruined for me.

Alex Ferrari 28:39
Just right, they always turn around holidays. Tell me about it, man. Tell me about it. And then the worst is like when I was when I was coming up, you know, I would submit a short film and it did get in and then I'd go to the shorts festival shorts block at Sundance in Washington. like shit man mines is better than that one. Yeah, yeah. That getting just because a star is in it. They are man

Qasim Basir 29:04
To really understand why like I just why certain film there's there's a whole you know this? I don't know, man. It's a tough thing. It's tough.

Alex Ferrari 29:14
Now, what was your Sundance experience? Like, man, like when you get there? Like, you know, take us behind the curtain a little bit? Yeah, for sure.

Qasim Basir 29:21
Um, so I've gotten to Sundance a number of times before, two or three times, I think maybe three. But I said to myself in 2013 that I'm not coming back without a movie. I made that that declaration. And I stuck by it. I just was not comfortable being there anymore. Just like hanging out, you know, and in trying to, you know, and I just, it was just something I need to give myself. declarations. You know, I need to give myself goals or timelines or things like that. That worked for me, you know, um, so I've been there and it's been Fun. But I but for this I was like the for this as like it. I gotta be honest, it was like stressful. You couldn't enjoy yourself. But I did enjoy myself. Absolutely man I absolutely enjoying myself. It was some great events, I met tons of people got a lot of great exposure man, the team I was with is was amazing. And you get you get invited to all the parties, you're meeting all the stars, all the big producers. And so but but then you're like, but then I'm like, the most like so our screening our premiere was until Monday, right? You know, the Monday of Sunday. So you go to that first weekend, you heard about all the other films and you are, you're waiting in anticipation for, you know, are people going to show up is are they going to like the movie, you know? Is it going to sell? Like, who has the sales agent doing? Are they getting people to shut to come like, you know, so all of that is happening. And then the movie plays and it's, it was one of the most I was like drenched in sweat. Because I was so nervous while it was playing. And I just I'm not normally that nervous things. But this Sunday, it's probably on, you know, and so you're working they can technically and the vibe was kind of low and the girls next to me and I'm just constantly telling him like pump it up, pump it up more and the lead actor Omari Hardwick was sitting behind me and like, here's Megan good like next to it. And I'm just like, oh, man, this is hope they like it. They hadn't seen it, you know. And so I Omari kept saying stuff to me to me, throughout the movie. Like, Oh, my God. But as it started going, people were laughing and sniffling. There were moments that I didn't know people would laugh that they did. I was like, Oh, that's great. You know, this stuff was working. And and then people stood up after the movie and clapped. And

Alex Ferrari 32:01
I must have been made. And as you know, which theater By the way, what theater? Did you premiere?

Qasim Basir 32:08
The library theater. Okay. Yes, the library theater. So it was about six 700 seats nice. Which was amazing. And it was packed. It was, you know, you couldn't get tickets to our movie. And then we started to have good buzz around the festival, and people were talking about it. And people were coming up to me and, you know, but and I would say for the next, like, 2436 hours, I had a great, great time. Our party was amazing. Tesla was one of our sponsors for our party.

Alex Ferrari 32:39
So like, of course they are,

Qasim Basir 32:41
Of course, the leader literally had for each one of us for me, um,

Alex Ferrari 32:47
they gave me a Tesla, bro, I'll be I'll be a bus. Driver. Yeah. Oh, no, no, not like, give for good like, oh, like at the festival? Oh, my God. No, I was gonna say, but he was just handing out Tesla's that Sunday. I'm gonna be pissed.

Qasim Basir 33:02
That would have been that. Yeah, but no, but why you're there. So you had like a Tesla with the drone for that next day? Until that night? Like, should they take it? Yeah, so I'm just like, going all these I can wait, let's stop here. Let's not, you know, and we had the ones with the Batman doors a flyer, you know,

Alex Ferrari 33:20
Were you jamming? You know, you driving by with the windows a little down low. And just like, you know,

Qasim Basir 33:26
Our own world, we were in our world. And we were just like, you know, chilling out. Awesome, dude. And so for that, that it was great. Like, we had an after party. And, you know, we, we had this room where we went with the actors and, and we all just kind of talk to each other. We It was a moment of acknowledgement for everyone. And, you know, to, to just to just because you get so much so much time for your q&a, you know, it's kind of quick. And you got to get out of there. But that was our moment to really, for people to acknowledge each other and it was just beautiful, man. And so but then the next day is it's back to the I'm back in my head again. My producer every 10 minutes, like who's making offers for the movie? You know who the next

Alex Ferrari 34:11

Qasim Basir 34:13
Yeah, and then there's the next screening and then there's, you know, you go through the whole thing again, so it was it was intense, man, it was very intense, but I'm super grateful now you're the you're the full 10 days. Yes, I say the whole time and, and yeah, but it got each screening got easier. It got a little easier. And, and we left the festival with four offers for the film, but we were a little a little disappointed at the number they were a little low. But But then we you know, we held out and, you know, people came through and came back in, you know,

Alex Ferrari 34:51
Now I hear I hear there that. I know I think this is real. It's happened to other years did you get to go to Robert Redford house and have lunch? Yes, yeah, we did. Uh, the directors, the directors,

Qasim Basir 35:06
Directors, they put us on a bus, right? Some mountains, you know, right. A couple hours hour and a half drive. And you know you you're on the bus with the other filmmakers, you get to kick it and talk and his bs beautiful man, it really is.

Alex Ferrari 35:23
And what was it like when you when you saw Bob,

Qasim Basir 35:25
Because he said he's a terrific guy, man, he, you could tell he he really cares about this stuff, man. And to hear some of his stories about back in the day, and just the, just the trials that he went through. And you know, and people people got to realize, man, this, like everyone who's become great at this, like, almost every show, there's been nepotism, it's not whatever, but like most people who are doing this on that level man are like, have gone through it. And, and you you see the great parts and you see them and own red carpet and then their movies. But like, it's the stories before that, that I'm interested in man and for him that to talk about some of those and that's the stuff that really still resonates with him. He didn't talk about, you know, the last 20 years. He talked about the first 10 You know,

Alex Ferrari 36:21
When he was just trying to hustle he's like everybody else. Yeah, damn us. That's the movies that bombed a couple you know, he's had a few he's I think what he will come back from but Wow, man, sorry. So you shot this whole thing in a one or technically? How the hell did you do it? And did you do it kind of like Birdman style where he did

Qasim Basir 36:41
No magical cuts or is real. This is real. So it's it is a so it's a mountain, right? It is a mountain of, of work of prep of crap. Have you know, me and the DP became really good friends. You got to fight because he was over over my place constantly as we were, we had maps, we had photos we had, you know, we went to the locations and took video on our we had a small camera that we would just shoot stuff on we would get in the car and drive up and see how long that drive would take and go to Mel's diner, which is where we shot our diner scene go to the club that that we were going to shoot at on a normal night for work you know we weren't at the club like hanging but I'm like telling my fiance oh no I'm going to this like to work but yeah, so we would go to this club and like see what it felt like and you know move around there and meant by the time and I had you know I'm on the phone with with Megan and Omar he is constantly having these three way calls and you know, whenever we get a location you know, my my fiancee was actually also location manager and you know, she working working with her and Atari on locking down locations. And you know, by the time we got to the shoot man, it was like when we knew we we knew exactly where to go. We had the backup plans, we had the backup backup plans, we we kind of thought about everything, you know, everything we could think about like okay, what if, you know, we had an x and a large we had a bunch of pa is because we knew we would need people to just be out on the streets in case someone tries to run up to Omari Hardwick or making good and get an autograph you know as we're shooting like that's a real thing. Like you're in LA. We're in LA and these people are pretty famous. You know, um, Omar is going to fifth season to power this year you know. And Megan is everywhere, you know, so, so it's it's really, it's really something that just was all about the prep. I mean, we had a rig on the DP and you can go on our social social page, I've seen it. g where it was this anti gravity rig that was that was modified for this shoe. You know, we had to get an additional number of batteries to hook up just so that the camera can last that long. We needed to you know, the the memory cards added extra extra memory to it to the camera we we the rig which the whole device itself was 33 pounds. So the rig took that weight off of his arms and put it around his waist, you know, so you know that it would do these moves where it could go up to nine feet high and all the way down to the ground without him feeling that his arms which you know I don't know, anyone who here who could carry a camera. You know, imagine like a steering wheel like it's in front of you sure holding something for 35, you know, for for more than five minutes, 10

Alex Ferrari 40:11
Let alone 90 minutes.

Qasim Basir 40:12
Yeah, yeah. So So all of that we would, we would practice in these parking lots from these for the from these high schools, these high school parking lots on the weekend were me and steve steve hollering was the is the DP where we would go out with the team, the camera crew and practice the dismount. Because there were moments where we would have to the team would have to dismount that take the camera off the rig, he would unblock with the rig, take it off of his person, then they would hand him the camera back so that he can hop into the vehicle that we were that we were getting, because you're doing it seamlessly. We're doing as we're going but but we but in order to make it look natural, we had to practice that move, you know, hundreds of times, and I'm not even exaggerating, I'm sure. Like, you know, because the first couple of times, it's like this is the this jerking thing when it comes off. So you got to like you got to do it so that it's so that it's smooth. And you know, I mean, I could talk about that all day. But you know all about the prep.

Alex Ferrari 41:18
So you did so you did this in an actual one or you didn't do a Birdman, you cut. Right? Right? So it was an actual one or so at least post is easier.

Qasim Basir 41:27
Well, so he editing is quick, here's the thing. Post. So when you're when you're doing a wonder, you have so for example, reposition camera. If you edit in Premiere Pro, or anyone else Premiere Pro, there were probably 1000 keyframes

Alex Ferrari 41:54
Framing stuff.

Qasim Basir 41:55
I have I mean, because we were everywhere and reflect. You know, because there's four or five people behind it, you know, constantly moving. La, there's mirrors, there's windows everywhere, there's you know, we're a metal strip narrows. The club we're in there were mirrors everywhere, like so I would constantly see my face and this arm or whatever, a

Alex Ferrari 42:17
Lot of VFX the clean stuff.

Qasim Basir 42:19
So there was a lot of that. Yeah, so there was a lot of repositioning, there was a lot of a lot of repositioning a lot of cleanup up like VFX stabilization, there was some and then there's issues of like, noise and I did a lot of this post a while, you know, but but you know, you get this this program called need noise, right? Where, where you have, you have this, this effect that takes ages to render. And like this is stuff you don't really know about, like you, you think about a program that's going to take away noise, you're like, oh, I'll just drop that on at the end. And we'll be good. And it's like, this rendering process takes longer than anything I've ever seen. Like, it's longer than stabilization as long as then then and then putting a color effect on I mean, it's it's it's ages. So it's stuff like that, the little tedious technical stuff that that took most of the time.

Alex Ferrari 43:23
So So you didn't so you still had to do a lot of posts, but not editing. Right, right. But there was other stuff to do. Now, how did you get such an amazing cast man?

Qasim Basir 43:33
Um, well, that I can I can really attribute a lot of that to, to my producers is, you know, as a matter of us calling folks man, we, you know, I gave. So, backtrack a little bit at a BFF with my last one destined American black Film Festival. I won Best Director. And and Omari Hardwick was the ambassador with the festival. 2016 and so, you know, that that night before was also my birthday, and I was hanging out and you know, we hung out together. And Omar is familiar with my first couple movies, and he's a terrific guy. And, I mean, one of the best best people I know, in this business, and, you know, he, and one of those talented as well, and he, and he knew about my work and, you know, I had been talking to him about doing stuff over the years. You know, I'd seen him at Sundance a couple years before, you know. And so I gave him a call, man, you know, and, and, like, Hey, man, I got this crazy idea. You know, I think, you know, Omari Hardwick is a, he's a theatre guy, he's a poet. You know, he's good with improv, you know? So, that kind of stuff matters when you want to know your unique actors who are going to show up and know the entire screenplay, you know, so someone who has that kind of background is able to shift on on the fly, by having that theater background was was really important. The producer to Atari, he's, he's, he's good friends and business partners with with Meghan good, they've done a number of projects together. And so, you know, he called her up and, and then we all met up, you know, and, you know, Megan and I had been talking about another project years before. And so there had been some familiarity there and, and then, you know, the rest of the rest of those cats were basically a call from, from from, from Atari, you know, and, and we are casting director on who who helped with with with some of it, but, you know, it was a lot of sort of favorite pulley.

Alex Ferrari 45:49
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. relationships, man is always about relationships, man, always about relationships.

Qasim Basir 46:05
And those relationships are forged by you know, just being out there man. Like, you know, you figure out these circles and you you go to film, film festivals, especially, especially manual film festivals, you have more access to actors and all that than I think anything else you do, you know, because people are just there specifically to do that. And they're used to people coming up and talking and it's not, it's not like seeing somebody at a restaurant and walking up on you know, which can sometimes be off putting in and in and frustrating tactics. But you're at a film festival is fair game.

Alex Ferrari 46:41
It's like, you hear your so I was like Sunday's I always tell people Sundance is like Disney World. But instead of characters running around, there's celebrities, right? They're all they're everywhere. Like, first time I went there was like, Oh my god, there's that person and that person and that person, or that person. And the first time I went all I did was take pictures. I was like such a fanboy back in like, 2005 Yeah, it was crazy. Now since since since Sundance man, you must have been making the rounds around town.

Qasim Basir 47:11
Yeah, man. It's like, Man, it's, it's been. It's been one wonderful, really getting getting to know everyone and, and really figuring out what my next project is, you know, I would say, I feel I feel really good that, you know, in retrospect, you know, you sometimes you don't know why things are happening the way they are, like, you could look at an email from Sundance a couple years ago, and be like, Damn, you know, I didn't get in, I feel terrible. Maybe this isn't for me, whatever. Um, but I, I looked at it and said, Alright, well, let me keep writing. Let me keep grinding. Let me keep putting ideas down. So that now I'm at this point where I'm meeting everyone, and I have like, three, four things, you know, that are ready to go like you want to which one? What are you looking for? You know,

Alex Ferrari 48:08
Just add a check. And we're good.

Qasim Basir 48:10
Yeah, absolutely. So I'm like, here's some stuff I've done already. You know, I just left Sundance, we just sold our movie. Here's some things I wanted to, you know, I'm also reading a bunch of scripts, I've I have read a bunch of scripts in Sundance. But I'm sort of finding what's right for me, you know, I'm, I'm being very intentional about making the next project, the right one, you know, making it I've really began to figure out specifically what my voice is, you know, and so I feel like I needed to go through all that, to be at this point now, where I sit in those meetings, like really comfortable with where I am with the stuff I have to do with if they if with what I don't want to do, you know, I've been presented some stuff that I'm not interested in, and I'm fine with that. You know, it's not a it's I don't know if I would have been that that way, three, four years ago, maybe. But the confidence I have now and this idea that I know exactly what I want to do. And if there if there's a company that wants to get behind some of the things that I am doing, then great, let's go right and

Alex Ferrari 49:21
That takes just this takes time and to get that confidence. Yeah, yeah. Without question now, what what made you essentially want to tell stories, you know, and what's what's what draws you and keeps you interested in telling stories as a writer and a director,

Qasim Basir 49:38
Man, okay, um, I, so I got it. So I'm gonna, I would say that I was raised in, so I was raised, black and Muslim, right when I was probably probably Even to most feared demographics in this country,

Alex Ferrari 50:03
It's like not a good situation. I get you.

Qasim Basir 50:05
Yeah. It's like I've seen a level of, and, you know, I'm no, like, I don't like to sound like a victim, you know, I'm not, I use my experiences to empower me, you know, I say, like, all this stuff I've been through, I'm going to use it and turn it around. But I've, I've seen a level of, of ignorance, that creates an amount of fear that that makes its way into discrimination and to hate into racism. being raised the way out was where I was, I saw a lot of, you know, from the time I was a kid, you know, pushing cart in a grocery store at a grocery store parking lot. were passed by a woman's car, and she locks her door, and in my mind, 1314 years old, I'm like, Oh, she's about to leave. She locked her door. And she sits there looking forward with their eyes wide. And I'm like, Oh, wait, she's not leaving. Oh, she scared me. You know, and then it being ingrained in my mind at a young age, right? Damn. I'm scary. Like, okay, I guess, you know, so maybe let me let me try to like, you know, soften myself. Let me talk a little softer. You know, let me not talk this deep, resounding voice right. Like, let me let me like, Oh, no. So literally going through life almost apologizing grind, right? Like just subconsciously, like 100 times a day. I'm like, No, I'm not scary, right? Like, the first time and as a kid, I've worked all the time. And I save $1,000 when I was 16 to buy my first car, which is a huge accomplishment. Oh, yeah. Day one of driving said car, I was stopped by the police. And within 10 minutes on the hood of the car, as they searched the car.

Alex Ferrari 52:01
And this is a Detroit.

Qasim Basir 52:03
Oh, CNN Arbor. Okay, now, completely embarrassed in the town I'm living in when this you know, student, good student athlete. Now, I say all that to say, between that and post 911 the way people shifted their perception about Muslim folks who, which I've never seen anything as quickly and as drastically as the change in perception about people that has been promoted. And, and, and, and, and really pushed down people's throat in the media, that that's, that's come after, right? So you got you got people in their homes or at the movies, where a lot of this country's actually pretty segregated, right? So you have, you have people, the only the only access they have to a person of color, to a Muslim person, to a gay person, whatever is what they see on TV, or in the movies, right? And for one for like, if you look at the history of film, and as a black man, and I look at the history of film for black people, right? for 20 years, literally, one type of person was telling the story for everyone. So literally, one type of person who's not connected to my community at all was telling the story of my community, but only the most violent extreme and polarizing elements of who we are.

Alex Ferrari 53:29
Right when there are no and all cultures and and all

Qasim Basir 53:32
Exactly. So and that's what I'm and that's what I'm getting. I'm speaking from from my closer because I this is what but yes for all codes for Asian culture for for Hispanic codes, you're like telling just these elements and then wonder why you have a society that's terrified of these people that now when they pull these people over end up shooting these two because they've been fed all of these images that are terrifying Of course you ever show the the beautiful parts of them that the the the normal parts of them then falling in love them? So that just started happening 2030 years ago, right? With marginal Spike Lee and Singleton who just can who consistently started making movies and saying like, actually we're normal people to wear this to we have to Emily's you know,

Alex Ferrari 54:20
We have hopes we have dreams. Of course we have hopes and dreams. We go to school like you'd like you know, it's it's weird to even say it like it's like it should. It should have been never seen that. It shouldn't be.

Qasim Basir 54:31
People never see I spoke at a school in Chicago last week. And I said, I said, has anybody in here seen on screen? A Muslim dude hug his daughter. And no one could sit nor could say that. And I said, How many people have seen a Muslim dude as a terrorist on screen? Everybody Raise your hand. So how many have seen five? Everybody had their hands raised 10 few people put their hands but it's but these images It's that you put in people, they mean everything, man. And that's the long answer. To my, to your question of why do I do this? It's like, we got some balancing to do man. Like, it's okay to have a gangster movie or, or, or, or movie highlighting the pain we go through. But I think I think I think we need to have a balance, you know, and it's it's really imbalance for certain people in the way of, of the the perception of and the displaying of, you know, of us in on screen and in TV. So for me one, I love this, I love this shit. And I, I I feel like for me, if I didn't do this, I don't know, I probably wouldn't be alive. I probably wouldn't. I can't even imagine a life not doing this shit. Like this is this is my, this is my love. It's my therapy. It's my, you know, I've been through a lot in my life. And I and then my fiance told me she's like, awesome, if you didn't do this, you probably be crazy. I'm like, Yeah, well, I'm already a little crazy. But I didn't do this if I didn't write these stories and like, then talk about them and then put them out and see how other people feel about them. And, you know, I'd probably be not so one I'd love it to I want to contribute to the, to the whole so that so that these images can like these someone people are when someone watch someone their screen at home, they are literally inviting you into their home and these characters to to say a thing to them, right? That could essentially change their fucking life, man. We could literally put something in their heart or their mind, or their spirit that says, I look at this, this group of people differently now. I'm going to make a choice to be different to them when I see them in real life. And that's what like it could change their life. It could change their life.

Alex Ferrari 57:03
Yeah, that's what I can do. Yeah, without question. Now, let me let me ask you because I'm Cuban, from Miami. So a lot of so everyone anytime say something Cuban? Everyone's like, oh, Scarface. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Or if you're older Oh, Ricky Ricardo. Right? Right. You know, and that was the image of Cubans. Right. To a certain extent. It's, it's, and by the way, the one of the most famous keywords of all times Italian, which is Robert, which is helped shape. Right. Right, which is, you know, he did fantastic, but still, you know what I mean? So I get I get it to a certain extent. I mean, not to the extreme that you're talking about, but I feel you I feel you.

Qasim Basir 57:43
You have people it back in the day. Like Like, they didn't even have black people in the black. Can you imagine the the President of the United States in 1915 put his fucking stamp on the Birth of a Nation like a movie that celebrated the fuckin Ku Klux Klan said, This movie is amazing. Like, this is what it is the Black

Alex Ferrari 58:13
Panther of its day. Is the Black Panther of 20 1915. I gotta say, dude, I get you man and and and God bless you, man for doing for doing the good work that you're doing, man. And, and, and and I do think things are changing. Things are changing things. I mean, women directors are coming out women, people of color are getting more opportunities. And it's there's plenty for everybody. And there's plenty for everybody. And you know, and I know a lot of people who listen to this show are from all over the world. You know, there's always perspective and that's what what film is about?

Qasim Basir 58:54
Is it really be clear, yeah, let me be clear. I am wildly hopeful, right? I there has been massive change. And it is it is something for a movie like moonlight to win Best fishing, you know, for Jordan Peele to win, you know, Best Screenplay for you know, Ava DuVernay to be doing what she's doing for Rihanna or Greta gerwig virgin girl, what are you doing, she's doing for all of these folks. And all of the kinds of shows that are on TV now for Atlanta to be on, you know, for for insecure for him for all the all the shows that are that are just saying, Hey, we're quirky, we're, we're different we are that don't have to be like, Oh, I'm gonna go shoot everybody at the club. You know, it doesn't have to be you know, I'm gonna burn you know, it's it's, it's so so I absolutely see and I'm hopeful for what's to come. And and, and I'm thrilled to be a part You know, to be on this ride, man, this is like, I look at my parents who are in like my mom's, you know, from Natchez, Mississippi who is, was very close to the civil rights movement, and you know, all this shit they went through and I look at this as our, our movement, like just given all this stuff that's going on in the country, and everyone fighting for just for equality man, you know, what is trying to say like, Oh, we want everything, what people just want, people want to say, Can Can you, if anybody could say, look out to this country right now and say everyone's equal, call me please like, let me know how you feel that way. But like, people just want to be sort of see people, you know, do in their own ways. And I look at I look at what's happening in film right now as sort of a revolution. Yeah, and it's part and that's, that's our revolution, you know, people are still marching in the streets, you see the kids marching. Now you see, the women's while I was at the women's march in LA, you see all in all of it's part of it's happening on Twitter, it's happening. And it's happening in the movies and TV. So I'm, I'm thrilled about that. And I'm incredibly hopeful, man,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:10
Absolutely, man, I agree with you 100% in the power of what stories can do stories have the power to change minds and change the world. And they have again and again and again, throughout history. And I think we are in a very, very interesting time to be alive without question. So I'm going to I'm going to do a little rapid fire questions, I ask all my guests, what advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today.

Qasim Basir 1:01:38
Um, I would say a couple things. Keep yourself in tact. You're going you're, you're going into the NFL of, of professions. Life, if you look at all professions, you say, movies, like, if you look at an NFL player, his whole, like, he's gonna do everything he can to make sure he is ready and prepared to go out on that field. The same way with this man, I think this, this business puts people through more things than most more stress than most more pain than most. So when I say keep yourself intact, I mean, you know, hold on tight, whatever that means for you to strengthen yourself to go into this business. And just be patient, right? And also keep people around that are going to be honest with you, right? Like enablers are great, like, somebody's telling you you're great is great. You need that kind of encouragement, like your mom, your family. The people that are like, yo, maybe you should work on this, here's how this could be better. Who gives you good notes on a script, who like that's the kind of make sure to have those kinds of people around because you will go years, and stuff won't be working. And they'll say like, oh, they're just your your enabled friends might say, oh, they're just hating on you. Or maybe maybe it's just not that good. You know? The quality of stuff is increasing stuffs getting better. Oh, yeah. No, you got it. You got to be able to compete. So like having those people around that are gonna be real with you and be honest with you. And that part is easy. Man. Hearing people say that stuff. And you know, it's still not easy for me, but I know it's necessary. So those are the two things.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:26
Can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career? Wow. I told you some Oprah shit, man. That's a good one. The power of now. Oh, yeah. What a great book. Eckhart Tolle Yeah, totally. Totally, man. Yeah, great book.

Qasim Basir 1:03:48
So he, you know, it was a time where, because, so I, for me, there's not much of a separation between my what I do and, and my person, right, like, my life is film. You know, it is this stuff, I'm always thinking about it. It's, it's everywhere. As I grow as a person, my work, also growth. That book came along, at a time where I was just beginning to understand the power of presence of consciousness, and this journey that I've been on to, to constantly try to be more conscious and be more aware. I find that the closer I get on this journey, the more significant my work becomes. It's bar none. It is, you know, along with studying and, you know, I'm subscribed to 20 different film channels on YouTube, that you can learn

Alex Ferrari 1:04:52
So much information on then there is

Qasim Basir 1:04:54
So much I mean, you know, I I've wanted to become better at my camera and cinematography knowledge, so the cinematography database is amazing, you know? And just, you know, because that's an area A few years ago, I wasn't as strong and so like, you know, I, you know, so it's, it's that kind of stuff. For me, I'm doing all of that but like in terms of my person, you know, the more developed me, the better I'm going to become as a director of the bedroom become in all those areas. So that book really was was one of the early books on on that topic. And I found that it had a drastic impact on my outlook in my life.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:36
Man, I anytime I study that card a lot. And when you when when you ever you hear him talk, it's just like, every sentence, you've got to kind of like digest. Yeah, yeah, he there's no fluff with him. Like, it's so dense. Yeah, it's a dense message that he puts out. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life? I think patience. Yeah, that's, that's a that's a popular one on the shelf. That's my that's mine, by the way.

Qasim Basir 1:06:04
Yeah. Yeah. I think patients, man, it's, it's because And with that, I, you know, I've lost some years, you know, I've lost some years. You know, my, when I moved to New York, after Detroit, it was, you know, I was probably 2637 and I was like, I gotta get this done. Now. I gotta, you know, and I just missed a lot of stuff. You know, I will go to events and my mind will be so singular focus, I would forget to have fun. You know, I, I lost some years of fun. Now. My, my fiance now in my mid 30s. She's like, She's like, teaching me to have fun. And I kind of get emotional thinking about it. Because like, I, I get, I really, when she asked me, like, Well, what do you like to do? Kasem? Like, just for fun? I'm like, I don't know. Like, watch a movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:04
Or watch a movie? What's five rights? Right? Cuz I spent that was just all I was doing. Yeah, no, I was just I was the same way.

Qasim Basir 1:07:15
It's It's so I, I would say just patience and enjoy the enjoy the ride, man enjoy it. It is like, it's it'll, if you are doing the work like not to say like, Don't grind because you got to Sherry, but please carve out time for you to, to enjoy it. And, and the patient's. Like I talked about Robert Redford, when I was at the lodge for Sundance. He's, you know, he's what at, you know, he's talking about the time before he popped off, you know, that time is the stuff. That's the stuff, man, if you hear any of these guys, and these interviews of women talking about their journey, they're talking about that time that when they used to sleep on the couch, or their friends, when they

Alex Ferrari 1:08:06
It's not the most interesting stuff.

Qasim Basir 1:08:08
It's the stuff man. So it's like, Okay, this is more for me to talk about when I'm, you know, when I'm being interviewed, or when I'm, you know, but right now, I got friends, that that friendships I could develop, I got, you know, the relationships that matter, I while while balancing that with with the work, you know, because the work is vital. And all of that stuff, though. The the trappings, it's all a byproduct of the work, man, you know, that, like, if you think about it like this, the one screenplay is written by one or two people. And then it starts with that those people or that one person, let's say one person in a room, having, you know, going through whatever your white writing process is, like, for me, it's it's crying, it's sleepless nights. It's crazy music. It's just it's a tone, his tone is tormenting. And

Alex Ferrari 1:09:10
I can say, you know what, I can see that, I don't know why. That makes absolute sense. Why but it does.

Qasim Basir 1:09:20
But then from that script, then you got then you get producers, the boss and their people, then you get a team involved to make them, which is maybe 40. This is smaller room, then all of the actors and those actors teams. So if you have 10 actors who each have five people 50 more. And then there's, then there's the the so let's just say with any given movie, there's it starts with just that one idea that one person who then makes a whole ecosystem sure of people who have people and events and stuff surrounding thing, but it all starts with that work and that that work. Takes takes patience and it takes, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:10:08
Takes, it takes a lot of love man and I will go even farther to say that you got to love the grind. Because if you could love the grind, man, it makes the trip a lot easier.

Qasim Basir 1:10:17
Yes. Yes, absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:19
So what are three? What are three of your favorite films of all time?

Qasim Basir 1:10:28
Children of Men movie. Pan's Labyrinth.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:37
Oh, Guillermo. Guillermo. I'm so happy he won this year.

Qasim Basir 1:10:41

Alex Ferrari 1:10:44
I've hung out with him. I've hung out with him two or three times. And he is just the coolest. Yeah, curses like a sailor. But just just so awesome. Have a human being man. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It was it.

Qasim Basir 1:11:00
Oh, gosh, man. It's this is tough.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:04
Don't worry. It's not gonna be on your gravestone. I mean, just, you know.

Qasim Basir 1:11:08
I'm just like, trying to. I'm trying to think it's just so many phones that I've had and I really do this, you know, I really

Alex Ferrari 1:11:26
Just bring them down to a lie.

Qasim Basir 1:11:28
So I was I'll say Fight Club

Alex Ferrari 1:11:30
God dammit, goddamnit we can hang out. Fight Club is one of my favorites. Without and I've actually had Jim, the writer Jim rules on the show. And we've become friends and he dude, when we like if you listen to that podcast first 30 minutes or like, so how's David Fincher? Lately, fanboy doubt about it. Right. And so where can people find you on social media? or anything like that?

Qasim Basir 1:12:00
I'm at Qasim A Basir, which is Q A S I M A and B as in boy, a s i r?

Alex Ferrari 1:12:09
Very cool. Brother. It was here. Yeah, this has been an awesome, awesome interview, man. And it's a great conversation. very inspirational. I hope I hope the tribe takes a lot out of this man. So thank you for sharing your time, brother, I

Qasim Basir 1:12:25
Thank you. And I really mean it. When I say I truly appreciate what you do, man, this this stuff. Really. It really makes difference for folks, man. So thank you, Keep at it man, and keep at the work and

Alex Ferrari 1:12:25
Thank you Brother.

Qasim Basir 1:12:25
Thank you.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:28
I did tell you that this was going to be an intense episode. And it was, you know, Qasim was so raw, and so real, about his journey, and about what he's gone through in the business and his and his life. And I'm ever grateful that he shared that with us on this podcast. So thank you so much for being user, and you keep up the good work as well. And keep, keep putting up the good fight and keep making those amazing films. And I cannot wait to see your new one a boy, a girl a dream. It sounds amazing. And I did not have time at Sundance, because I was busy to catch the screening. But I can't wait to see it in theaters when it gets released very very soon. Now if you want links to anything we talked about in this episode, head over to indiefilmhustle.com/236 for the show notes include links to Qasim and his Twitter and all that kind of good stuff. And you'll be able to see some clips from his movie, a boy a girl a dream. And again, guys, thank you so much for such an amazing response to the new podcast, a bulletproof screenplay. It is been, it's growing so fast, and I cannot even explain how excited I am that you guys really liked it. So many subscribers have come on board and great review. So if you have not subscribed yet, and you're interested in screenwriting and storytelling, then just head over to screenwritingpodcast.com. And if you can leave us a good review, it really helps out the show a lot, especially when we're just starting out so helps us with the rankings on iTunes. And please, if you like what we're doing here at indie film hustle, and at bulletproof screenplay, and you really enjoy the content, and you find the value of it, please tell five friends, everybody should go out and tell five friends, hey, listen to the podcast, go to the website. And that's the way we're going to be able to grow the tribe, grow the community, and get this information out there and hopefully help so many more filmmakers and creatives in the world, so I need your help. I can't do it alone. So as always, guys, thank you and keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.




  1. Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
  2. AudibleGet a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
  3. Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)



Where Hollywood Comes to Talk

Oliver Stone

Oscar® Winning Writer/Director
(Platoon, Wall Street, JFK)

Edward Burns

(Brothers McMullin, She's the One)

Richard Linklater

Oscar® Nominated Writer/Director
(Boyhood, School of Rock)

Eric Roth

Oscar® Winning Screenwriter
(Forrest Gump, Dune)

Oscar® Winning Writers/Directors
(Everything, Everywhere, All At Once)

Jason Blum

(Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver)

Oscar® Nominated Producer
(Get Out, Whiplash)

Chris Moore sml

Oscar® Nominated Producer
(Good Will Hunting, American Pie)

(Menace II Society, Book of Eli)

Marta Kauffman sml

Oscar® Winning Writer/Director
(Last Samurai, Blood Diamond)

Emmy® Winning Writer & Showrunner
(Friends, Grace and Frankie)

Free Training of The Week


How to Direct Big Action Sequences on a Micro-Budget

By Gil Bettman

Join veteran director Gil Bettman as he shares the secrets to directing big budget action on a micro budget.