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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sisters in the Masjid - Ummah Films Movie Clip

Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem,

I was able to edit some footage from our first day (and possibly the last day) of filming. I’m still brand new to editing so please excuse my flaws. I didn’t have time to color correct. I discovered inconsistent background audio noise when I was capturing the footage, which is the result of us moving the scene closer to the freeway side of the Masjid. The sun was too hot for the sisters on the original location of the scene and we wanted them to be comfortable, InshAllah. Hence, we found a nice shaded area but it came with the price of traffic noise. Ideally, we should have recorded some "natural" background noises from a quieter location to blend into this clip but since we forgot to do that, I added some natural birds sounds in the background to hide the inconsistency.

As mentioned in the previous posts, we were limited on what we could film because we found out about half hour before filming that 12 of the 19 people couldn’t make it. Although we have the location reserved for next Sunday, some of the sisters who made it this past weekend can not make it so I don’t think we can finish this film. Maybe we can do something else but nothing has been planned and I'm totally burned out with working on the 62 page storyboard shooting script , which has now been tossed.

It took us about 2.5 hours to record two scenes. We actually had a total of 3.5 hours of filming but I'm not counting the first hour because we redid the entire scene again when we found out that the footage was never recorded.

Anyways, I have decided not to show the 2nd scene. Let me explain why: Ummah Films is a project which is put together by a volunteer staff with the aim of promoting thought in the minds of the audience. Many Muslims, like myself, need reminders from time to time to make sure that they are Iman is on track. Our goal is to make Islamic films, which Muslims can relate to and cover issues that we face but done Islamically.

When I came home that night, I noticed that some girls had parts of their hair showing in the 2nd scene. Some sister's hair were not fully covered and that is not the image that I want Ummah Films to portray for many reasons:

1. Islam comes first. Although the western world’s definition of “naked” is constantly changing, Islam's definition is very clear and precise. Women in Islam have honor and respect and Ummah Films will not compromise their honor InshAllah.

2. A sister who isn't covered fully or who doesn't wear hijab full time, may one day decide to. Thus, having a film floating around in the future with her not wearing her hijab properly is not correct.

3. Allah Alim where the films or clps from Ummah Films may one day reach to. A viewer watching a character in one of films, may look at that character as a role model or as an example, especially if she can relate to that character’s personality or situation. I do not want to give the idea that "its ok" to not wear hijab correctly or just wear it partially. I have a deep respect for my sisters who swim against the waves of society and wear hijab. Its not easy. It takes Iman. May Allah (swt) reward them InshAllah.

If Ummah Films never releases any films at the expense of doing everything halal, its well worth it. I refuse to use haram means to do a dawah project. Its no different than going to gamble at the casino and using the winnings to build a Masjid. The halal path may not be as easy as the haram path. Although the haram path can be tempting because its easy, I refuse to compromise their Deen. We must look at Islam for all actions, even when it comes to making films. Some use the excuse of being “artistic” or “this and that” for whatever reason. I am not trying to get into the industry, and I won’t compromise my Deen for the sake of winning an award from this or that film association. My judge is Allah (swt) and the only reward that is worth all this effort, is the one that Allah (swt) will give. In short, our Deen must come before anything, and that includes Ummah Films.

Anyways, here is the clip (it took about 1.5 hours to film because of the different angles....it looks like we had a bunch of camera setup but in reality, we only used 1 camera to film it):

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At May 09, 2006 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The obstacles will always be there...the key is how to deal with them and how to plan so to reduce them.
here are few suggestion:
1. Spend more time on casting making sure your actor/actress are what you’re looking for...
2. Not everyone will be at the same level of enthuse so there needs to be a way to deal with it (be and stay consistent)
3. Start with a small project that you may not necessarily need actors/actress (what i mean is that there might be a carnival/lecture/small BBQ event/Picnic and see how you can shoot an interesting short story...the set is there (use what you have).
4. Use some of your crew 1 or 2 people should be good. This way it's small and manageable (crew will show up)
5. To avoid moving too much during the shoot... Film all scenes that comes from one angle first before moving the camera man, sound ....to the different location this can help reduce the shoot and move time.
6. Be very clear and have open communication with Brothers/sisters who are involved upfront (this is an Islamic film...we do it ISLAMICALLY...by Islamic rules!)
7. Be realistic (3 hr with limited time shooting a whole film!!!, especially first film!!!) in your earlier post you said it was crazy…well…if it sound unrealistic chances are it will be very hard to do.
8. This sounds as repeat but start with very small project with small characters…and slowly work the way up…
You can have very short films.
Wa Salam

At May 09, 2006 10:00 PM, Blogger Omer Khayyam's Blog said...

As salaam aleikum!

Oh man thats such a funny video! Classical sisters and there subtle non-verbal fighting. It seemed kind of exaggerated but nonetheless thumbs up.

At May 11, 2006 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salam alaikum brother Ali,

I am so proud of what you said. We should never compromise our deen. May Allah make you successful in your projects. Wa salam alaikum


At May 11, 2006 12:03 PM, Blogger Baba Ali said...

Walaikum Salam,

JazakAllah kair for all the comments.

I was thinking of getting real actors and if we have women roles played by non-Muslims, guess what...they are wearing hijab too. For them, its no different than a costume.

The only way I am going to have sisters without hijab in my films are only if they are young girls (before they are requried to wear it). I know it sounds like a drastic decision but if you go to Steven Speilberg's set, you don't show up wearing whatever you want. Hence, Ummah Films isn't for everyone and I'm not here to please others. I want to make films, but I want to make them halal. Otherwise, I'm not doing it for Allah (swt), I'm doing it for people and then I would be a COMPLETE waste of time and resources.

At May 23, 2006 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At May 23, 2006 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At September 30, 2006 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikum,

please ensure that the sisters are wearing proper hijaab when you're filming them...I don't think tight jeans and tank tops over their shirts and their forearms showing for example counts as proper...maybe you should write down some kind of guideline for female actors...like the way they have to wear the hijaab, have to wear jilbaab etc...it really annoys me and other practicing sisters when we see improperly dressed sisters..for example in clips by sami yusuf etc...its almost like a properly dressed sister is too embarassing to show...i liked the video by ahmad bukhatir about ramadaan where he had a niqaabi sister sitting with her family...it doesn't have to be niqaab but please just make sure there's an islamic standard set in your movies...lots of sisters insha'Allah can be influenced through this and you'll get the reward insha'Allah

At August 23, 2008 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salaam brother!

wow...evrything u said about why u didnt keep the 2nd scene really shocked me!
but in a good way..!!! :)
its nice to hear a muslim brother care so much for his sisters...
its not everyday tht u come across such muslims...!!

love ur blog/videos/EVERYTHING!!!
really enjoy watching and reading them all!


wasalaam x

At August 05, 2010 1:21 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I just came across this blog and found it very interesting indeed.Thanks for sharing.


At August 22, 2010 5:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the video is no longer available?
does any one knows y?

At August 22, 2010 5:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the video is no longer available?
does any one knows y?


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