After surviving a nearly fatal car accident in 2002, Qasim Basir decided it was time to rethink his life goals.
Basir, 28, is the writer and director behind the new film MOOZ-lum starring big name celebrities Danny Glover and Nia Long.
He says when he was recovering from the tragic accident he decided he would figure out how to get the most out of life.
“The thought of leaving here, when you’re faced with that thought, you start to think what’s going to be my marker, how will I be remembered. I want to be remembered as doing something important that will potentially assist with the progression of society. “
Basir says he only took one film class back in high school and began making films on his own. He combined that with working on other film sets and reading books and eventually taught himself the craft.
In 2007 Basir won an online film competition for One Nation sponsored by Link TV and caught the attention of Danny Glover, a celebrity judge on the panel.
“I ended up winning the drama category for the short and they did this article in USA Today about it. And I said in that article I had done a feature script based on it. Danny Glover’s company called me up after that and wanted to see the script. And so from there I started working with them on drafts.”
Nia Long came on board after reading the script.
“She liked the character that she was to portray. And she liked a lot of different aspects.”
Basir says his mom was on the phone with Nia Long as her Islamic consultant throughout the filming process.
“For her to play this role it represents so many Muslim women in this country it means a lot. I had to really make her understand what it meant. Because that story of the Muslim woman in America is a pretty intense one. She definitely played it right. “
A lot of people are excited to see the film and want to know when and where it will play and Basir says they’re not sure yet, but are hoping to get it in 10 theaters over the next year. He says it’s similar to how Slumdog Millionaire made it into the mainstream.
Basir is also heavily promoting the film through Facebook.
“The stuff we’re doing on Facebook is something we feel can help this film get out there. It’s one thing for the Muslim community to go see this movie. But we also want people who don’t’ have a good understanding about Islam and Muslims to go see it as well because we feel it can be a sort of enlightening piece.”
Basir says contrary to what people think, the entertainment industry is not difficult for Muslims to be a part of.
“I found out early on you have to set your own sort of boundaries. And just make a decision. There are people that say you have to do whatever you have to or whatever they want you to do. You can say OK I’m going to do everything except this and people will respect that. I don’t find it difficult at all really. Other than when people pass judgement up front about what I do.”
If you want to help get the film in theaters and keep up to date on all the latest news, join the MOOZ-lum facebook fanpage.