Teen Documentary Filmmaking Workshop

A Documentary Filmmaking Workshop for Teens

Workshop: February 11th &12th (10:30am to 1:30pm)
Final Cut Preparation: February 18th (tbd)
Screening: February 19th (12pm)

12th Avenue Arts/Northwest FilmForum, Seattle


Tasveer and Blanket Fort Films invite you to learn the hows and whys of making documentaries and to see your work onscreen at SAID 2017. No equipment or experience required. The workshop is limited to 12 participants and is open to teens 13 and older. Students with a South Asian background and other students of color are encouraged to sign up.

Day 1 and Day 2:  We will offer an introduction to the theory of documentary filmmaking and the tools and technology involved.

Day 3: will allow time for a rough-cut screening and final editing session.

Day 4: Students will show their films to a live audience of SAID attendees, as part of the film festival.

This workshop is presented in collaboration with Blanket Fort Films.

FEB 19TH, 12PM || Behind A Wall Of Justice

Behind A Wall of Justice (Mohammad Shazzad Hossain, Bangladesh, 12mins)

Mostafizur was accused of a crime that he did not commit. For 10 years, while the trial dragged on, he endured the stigma and pain of being treated as a criminal by his own friends and family. The financial burden of the trial further humiliated him and his family and they were forced to survive on the charity of neighbors. Even after his acquittal, Mustafizur still struggles to live a life of respect and dignity.

About the Director

Mohammad Shazzad Hossain is Senior Lecturer of the Media Studies and Journalism Department, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB). He earned his Masters in Arts in ‘Film and Media’ from Stamford University, Bangladesh. He earned another M.Sc. and B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Physics from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST). He also has a diploma in Multimedia. Before joining ULAB he used to teach in Dhaka University, Stamford University and Pathshala (South Asian Media Academy). He works as a freelance photographer since 1998. He started professional carrier as graphics designer then switched into video editing, videography and direction. He started his television carrier as a news cameraman in 2004 at Vecton television which is a UK based TV channel, then he worked in different Bangladeshi TV channel like Bangla Vision, CSB News, ntv and desh tv. He lead ‘somoy media limited’ as chief video journalist till 2012. He directs short films and documentary. 


This screening will be followed by the screening of On The Road

FEB 19TH, 12PM || On The Road

On The Road (Changhee Chun, S.Korea/Bangladesh, 19mins)

On the Road is a documentary highlighting the journeys of Moazzem and Maruf, two migrant workers from Bangladesh in Korea, on their quest for a brighter future—the “Korean Dream.”

About the Director

Associate Professor
Department of Cinema, Photography, and Media Arts
Roy H. Park School of Communication, Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY)

Executive Producer and Owner
Last Lantern Productions (Los Angeles, CA)

The devotion to investigating personal aesthetics and principles of filmmaking by studying theoretical background of film and directing creative film projects is a crucial part of philosophy as a film director.

In his scopious career, Chun has completed collaborative productions on several feature films for major Korean production companies. In 1995, he signed on with Samsung Broadcasting Center (SBC) as a director and producer. Creating over thirty television documentaries and commercials including 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Chun gained a broad expertise of the technical and conceptual aspects for film and video production. As a freelance film director Chun developed over thirty commercial films, music videos and documentaries.

The interminable effort toward making meaningful films and creative excellence has been recognized by numerous film festivals including CINESTUD at the International Film Festival, Amsterdam, Holland; Film Fan Awards, Richmond, VA.; Rochester International Film Festival; St. Louis International Film Festival; Blue Sky International Film Festival; James River Festival of Moving Image; Telluride Film Festival; Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival; DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival; Independents' Film Festival; da Vinci Film Festival; The East Lansing Film Festival; Muskegon Film Festival, Tacoma Film Festival, The 32nd Asian American International Film Festival, Urban Suburban Film Festival and so on. His works received numerous awards and have been aired nationally and internationally.

Chun continues to develop personal principles of characteristic film art, principles that encompass the challenge to students and filmmakers alike to contribute engaging art to mankind.


This film screening will be preceded by the screening of Behind A Wall of Justice.

FEB 19TH, 2PM || Sonita

Sonita (Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, Iran/Afghanistan, 90mins)

Sonita is an 18-year-old female, an undocumented Afghan illegal immigrant living in the poor suburbs of Tehran. She is a feisty, spirited, young woman who fights to live the way she wants, as an artist, singer, and musician in spite of all her obstacles she confronts in Iran and her conservative patriarchal family. In harsh contrast to her goal is the plan of her family – strongly advanced by her mother – to make her a bride and sell her to a new family. The price right now is about US$ 9,000.
The main storyline of the film builds around Sonita’s struggle to escape a forced marriage. She fights with the dilemma of not loosing her family, but still be able to build a life of her own. In order to do so, she needs to obtain resident status, and to record and make video clips for her songs on a miniscule budget. Through this, we witness her family and their dilemmas and get to know her friends and colleagues who are also child laborers in the NGO “House of Affection”.
Will Sonita be forced into marriage? Will she succeed in recording her songs? Will her family manage to take her back to Afghanistan? The film unfolds in Sonita’s home, at the NGO and in music studios in and around Teheran. Later we will need to travel to her hometown in Afghanistan in order to get ID papers, because there might be a future in the United States…

About the Director

Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami studied filmmaking and animation in Tehran Art University. Her researches on animated documentary resulted to writing a book, named: “Animated Documentary, a New Way to Express”. She has made 6 documentaries and won more than 20 international awards. Cyanosis (2007) and Going up the Stairs (2011) have a wide international exposure. 



  • Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival (2015) : Audience Award
  • Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival (2015) : Doc U! Award
  • Biografilm Festival (2016) : Best Debut Film
  • Sundance Film Festival (2016) : Audience Award -World Cinema, Documentary
  • Sundance Film Festival (2016) : Grand Jury Prize -World Cinema, Documentary

FEB 18TH, 7PM || Kominas (World Premiere)

Kominas |Marcus Ricci and Rakesh Baruah, USA, 69mins|

Taqwacore was a buzzword in the mid-2000s. Academics, journalists, and religious scholars glommed on to the term and excavated it for meaning – what was it like to be young, Muslim and American in the wake of 9/11? The US was at war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and maybe soon in Iran. The face of the enemy abroad was brown and Muslim, but who were the dark ones living inside the empire?

In 2009, two 25-year-old wannabe filmmakers, Marcus and Rakesh, set out on the road with the Taqwacore punk band, The Kominas, to document exactly what it was like to be living, breathing, and screaming Taqwacore. The articles, textbooks, and Frontline style video-docs had already been written and made, but they were heady. We wanted to know: what does Taqwacore feel like? 

We discovered that Taqwacore was a family formed on the road, on tour, in the basements, dive bars, and rock clubs from Cleveland to Chicago to Austin and to Bushwick. There was something more than just “Muslim Punks in America!” taking place; there was a human story of friendship, masculinity, love, sadness, and fear unfolding in front of our eyes.

Kominas, our rock documentary, is about friendship – the friendship between Basim and Shahjehan, the founding members of the band; the friendship between Marcus and Rakesh, the fledgling filmmakers in over their heads; and the friendship formed on stage, in cars, and in the mosh pits with every person that showed up to discover what it meant to be a new kind of American in a country transformed by Iraq, Bin Laden, Afghanistan, and Abu Ghraib. 

Kominas is a snapshot of what it was like to be young, angry, and in search of somewhere to belong in an America transitioning from war into something new.

About the Director

Marcus Ricci is a director, DP and producer whose experience spans documentary film and TV, digital, and everything in between. This year, he served as video director of BI Studios at Business Insider, producing a range of video work, from concept to delivery, for top advertising clients. His first documentary feature, "The 2012 Project," about a group of friends preparing for the Mayan Apocalypse, premiered at the 2013 River's Edge International Film Festival and screened as part of the NewFilmmakers series in NYC. Previous credits include: Obama For America 2012, Fuse News, "American Weed" on Nat Geo, HBO's "Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present," and the PBS series "Circus." Marcus lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, producer Soo Kim, their son Julius, and dog Chivo.

Rakesh Baruah is currently the Showrunner's Assistant on the prime-time CBS drama Blue Bloods. He holds an MFA in Screenwriting/Directing from Columbia University in New York and a bachelors in American History and Gender Studies from Northwestern. His parents emigrated from Assam, near the border of Bhutan, to the United States in 1975. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, Rakesh now lives in New York City.


FEB 18TH, 5PM || I Cannot Give You My Forest

I Cannot Give You My Forest (Nandan Saxena and Kavita Bahl, India, 45mins)

‘I cannot give you my Forest’ is a poetic window into the relationship of the Kondh Adivasis with the Forest. Against the backdrop of the rape and plunder of community resources by venal Corporations and the Government, the Forest becomes a metaphor for their sovereignty.

The film unfolds at the pace of their lilting melodies and unhurried conversations. The narrative is theirs; the meta-narrative is also theirs. Filmed in the jungles and villages at Niyamgiri, in southern Odisha, the story is a parable of our times – that rings true for all countries that have forests and people.

About the Director

Nandan Saxena & Kavita Bahl are the recipients of the National Award for Best Investigative Film for ‘Cotton for my shroud’ (2011), a special mention for ‘Candles in the wind’ at the 61st National Film Awards (2013) and the National Award for Best Film on Environment including Agriculture for their film ‘I cannot give you my Forest’ (2014).

Two decades into filmmaking, their oeuvre spans the domains of ecology, livelihoods, development and human rights. Their first Feature Script is looking for a sensitive Producer. Seven-years of journalism formed the bedrock of their decision to make documentaries. Top Quark Films was born in 1996. They love to share their knowledge with inquisitive minds. As media-trainers, they offer workshops to initiate inquisitive minds into filmmaking and photography under the banner- Top Quark Workshops.  They have been visiting faculty at the Department of Culture and Media Studies, Central University of Rajasthan, where they taught Photography and Video-Production. Nandan is also an avid photographer. In 2009, he had a 30-day solo exhibition of his photographs at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.


This film screening will be preceded by the screening of Sakharam

FEB 18TH, 5PM || Sakharam

Sakharam (Sarthak Bhasin, India, 18mins)

Set in a tiny, tribal village of rural Maharashtra (India), this non-fiction film documents the life of Sakharam Mangya Bhagat. Water is in severe scarcity in Sakharam’s village. So, Sakharam has devised an ingenious solution to this grave water problem- He keeps three wives. The Director notes that SAKHARAM is his third year documentary film exercise at FTII, Pune. It is shot in a small tribal village called Dengalmal in rural Maharashtra over the course of six days and the film was a great learning experience for him as a director and a screenwriter.

About the Director

Sarthak Bhasin is a third year Film Direction student at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII, Pune). He pursued his graduation in Economics from Delhi University and his post-graduation in Mass Communication from AJK MCRC, Jamia Milia Islamia. He has also acted in two Bollywood feature films namely Percept Picture Company’s “MP3” (2005) and UTV Motion Picture Company’s “Aagey Se Right” (2007). His previous student films at FTII, Pune have been the official selections at various film festivals in India and abroad. Directing films is his passion and he intends to continue doing it for the rest of his life.


This screening will be followed by the screening of I Cannot Give You My Forest

FEB 18TH, 2PM || Sent Away Boys

Sent Away Boys (Harjant Gill, India, 43mins)

What happens to families in the absence of sons? What happens to land in the absence of farmers? What happens to communities in the absence of men? Sent Away Boys weaves together testaments of individual ambitions and family biographies from Punjab, India to chronicle the gradual transformation of agrarian landscape and patriarchal traditions through ongoing transnational migration. As the promise of a secure future in agriculture grows increasingly uncertain for young men across the region, escaping India to join the low-wage labor in countries like Canada and USA becomes their sole aspiration. In rural Punjab, being a successful man now entails leaving their village, traveling abroad, and sending money home. Through interviews with men preparing to undertake often risky journeys and women awaiting the return of their sons, brothers and husbands, Sent Away Boys shows how young men's decisions to emigrate implicate families and communities across North India. 

About the Director

Harjant Gill is an assistant professor of anthropology and cultural studies at Towson University, Maryland. He received his PhD from American University in Washington DC. His academic research examines the intersections of masculinity, modernity and migration in India. Dr. Gill is also a documentary filmmaker and has made several films that have screened at film festivals worldwide and won numerous awards. His previous documentary, Roots of Love explored the changing significance of hair and turban among Sikhs and is being screened on BBC World News, BBC America, and Doordarshan (Indian National TV). He is currently also the co-director of Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival. 



  • Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival, 2016
  • Viscult Festival of Culture, 2016

This film screening will be preceded by the screening of Mardistan

FEB 18TH, 2PM || Mardistan

Mardistan (Harjant Gill, India, 28mins)

Mardistan (Macholand) is an exploration of Indian manhood articulated through the voices of four men from different generations and backgrounds. A middle-aged writer trying to make sense of the physical and sexual abuse he witnessed studying in an elite military academy, a Sikh father of twin daughters resisting the pressure to produce a son, a young 20-year-old college student looking for a girlfriend with whom he can lose his virginity, and a working-class gay activist coming out to his wife after twenty years of marriage. Together, their stories make up different dimensions of what it means to be a man in India today. Mardistan (Macholand) starts a conversation on critical issues including patriarchy, son preference, sexual violence and homophobia in a nation increasingly defined by social inequalities. 

About the Director

Dr. Harjant Gill is an assistant professor of anthropology and cultural studies at Towson University, Maryland. He received his PhD from American University in Washington DC. His academic research examines the intersections of masculinity, modernity and migration in India. Dr. Gill is also a documentary filmmaker and has made several films that have screened at film festivals worldwide and won numerous awards. His previous documentary, Roots of Love explored the changing significance of hair and turban among Sikhs and is being screened on BBC World News, BBC America, and Doordarshan (Indian National TV). He is currently also the co-director of Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival. 



  • NY Indian Film Festival – May 2015
  • DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival – April 2015
  • University of Maryland, College Park (invited screening) – April 2015
  • Ethnografilm Festival, Paris – April 2015
  • Screening Scholarship Media Conference, University of Pennsylvania – March 2015
  • George Mason University (invited screening) – April 2015
  • Amherst College (invited screening) – March 2015
  • University of Toronto (invited screening) – March 2015
  • University of Guelph (invited screening) – March 2015
  • University of Maryland Baltimore County (invited screening) – February 2015
  • SCRIPT Film Festival, Kochi – February 2015 : Winner: 2nd Place “Best Documentary” 
  • International Festival of Prayag – February 2015
  • The FD Zone - Film Division, Mumbai – January 2015
  • Godrej Culture Lab, Mumbai – January 2015
  • Men & Boys for Gender Justice Festival JNU, New Delhi - November 2014
  • Open Frame Festival, New Delhi - September 2014
  • Canadian Anthropology Society Conference, York University, Toronto – May 2014


This film screening will be followed by the screening of Sent Away Boys

FEB 18TH, 12PM || The Curious Case of Mr. Bhim Thapa

The Curious Case of Mr. Bhim Thapa (Bhakta Chand, Nepal, 13mins)

This documentary centers on a man, myth and his legacy. It works both as a biopic and as a timeless and relevant piece of social commentary. Mr. Bhim Thapa has dedicated his life to the idea that people needed to be awakened to bring changes in their lives. He held this idea for a lifetime, painting & inscribing the word “khoja” on the pavement, walls, and stones of Nepal. Now, 96, old and fragile, he is still traveling and writing. It is believed that he has written/inscribed “Khoja” over 8 million times. 

About the Director

In 2000, Bhakta Chand ditched his Civil Engineering studies & went to Norway to study Theater Arts and English Literature. It was a journey that shaped his future and developed interest in films and documentaries. After Studying Anthropology in London, he returned to Kathmandu and went to produce documentaries on social, cultural & contemporary issues in Nepal.

His first documentary on plastic problem in Kathmandu valley and effect it leads to the global environment won him the prestigious award at San Francisco organized by Siemens. He wrote and directed a feature length documentary about traditional music and musicians called “Valley of Music”. This historical traditional music and its instruments is going through a phase and is on the verge of extinction as its loss means loss of intellectual calamity to ancient knowledge leading to the extinction of an entire culture. The documentary was premiered at a renowned theatre in Kathmandu. The Curious Case of Mr. Bhim Thapa is his third documentary film.

Currently, Bhakta is working as a Programme Manager at an innovative not for profit social business enterprise that supports and enables positive futures for street based children, young people and families at risk in Nepal. 



  • Figueira Film Art Festival 2016 (Portugal) - Winner of Best Short Documentary
  • 13th Frames Film Festival 2016(Mumbai) -  Runner Up for Best Short Documentary


This screening will be followed by the screening of Cities of Sleep