Welcome to UK Muslim Film
Together let’s change the script.
As a British Muslim in the industry that I love and cherish, it was always disheartening to see such negative portrayals of Muslims in cinema and television. There was never any variety, it was always the same cliches and damaging tropes. Muslims are the most diverse group on the planet, we have people from a plethora of ethnicities, cultures and continents. This is why I knew it was critical for a change to happen and that came in the launch of UK Muslim Film. Since working with the founder Sajid and his team, I already feel a positive and impactful change happening. With UKMF's wealth of expertise and ability to advise on all aspects from script to staging/screen, we had some considerable support with our BFI Network short film, Tasbeeh. We were really amazed at the speed of communication and planning from Sahid and his team. Sajid advised on a key aspect of the narrative which was influential in making the film a lot stronger thematically. His extensive history of being in front and behind the camera brings so much value to his contribution to our production. We cannot praise and recommend UKMF more highly, they make working with them easy and enjoyable! We will continue to work with Sajid and support the growth of UK Muslim Film.
"When introducing a new Muslim character into our long running show we knew we needed to make that character both authentic and truthful. Having a professional, industry facing organisation like UKMF was invaluable in that process. Working with Sajid was easy, speedy, and informative. I learnt things I didn’t know and had some assumptions overturned. For me it was particularly important that our advice was coming from someone with experience of media work and an overview of the issues, rather than someone with a more narrow focus. I believe the future of representing diverse characters on screen is for creators to engage with organisations like UKMF at an early stage to ensure that potential problems and issues can be avoided and interesting and challenging representations increase on screen diversity in a genuinely positive way.”
SCREW is a prison drama for Channel 4 which touches on a huge range of contemporary issues, and our writer and production team were determined to strive for authenticity and sensitivity in all subjects we covered. Sajid at Muslim Film UK was invaluable in helping us try to achieve that goal around portrayal of Muslim characters and the practice of Islam among prisoners and prison officers alike. He worked with us on storylines, dialogue, design and staging on the set and was hugely collaborative and responsive throughout, helping us steer clear of harmful stereotypes whilst meeting the demands of dramatic storytelling. All in all, it was an incredibly positive and creative collaboration.
As a production company we at Lime believe in authentic and resonant stories that speak to as wide an audience as possible. When we read the “Planet Omar” book series, about a young Muslim boy who can’t help being an accidental trouble magnet, we knew it was exactly the kind of story we wanted to tell. We approached Zanib Mian, the author, and central to our pitch was a commitment to tell her story in an authentic way. Having someone at the heart of the production who understood Omar’s culture, and all aspects of the TV process, was essential. Zanib recommended Sajid Varda at UK Muslim Film and it was immediately clear that he was perfect for the role. Sajid’s knowledge of the TV and film industry is matched by his insight into all aspects of Muslim life, faith and culture; not to mention his sense of humour. Sajid is now advising us on all aspects of the project and his creativity, passion and attention to detail have helped to mould it into something truly original and accessible. We would not hesitate to recommend Sajid and UK Muslim Film as a valued and integral part of this process.
One of the great joys and privileges of creating television drama is the knowledge that it can touch all sorts of people in all sorts of ways. It can alter a viewer’s thinking as well as affecting them emotionally - so there’s a responsibility that comes with programme making. The issue of authenticity has been central in writing Screw for Channel 4 and when we began talking about an episode that touched on issues around Muslim radicalisation in British jails, our aim was to tell a story that had something to add to the conversation rather than reinforcing prejudices. We were aware that good intentions don’t stop you getting things horribly wrong - and how damaging that can be.
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Your generosity can help champion the next generation of Muslim filmmakers. All the money raised by our supporters directly impacts how we can transform the experience of Muslims working both in front of and behind the camera, as well as our work to address negative portrayals on-screen.