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.

Trailer