Introducing: Azeem Mustafa – Director and Filmmaker

Words by Michelle Stannard.

Photography by Chris Lipton.

Azeem at work
Azeem at work

Azeem is a local filmmaker, writer and director. He is a very humble fellow, and he is genuinely one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. I have had the pleasure of working with him on numerous occasions, via The Alt Entertainer and other film related ventures – including a zombie film. Being somebody who has studied media at college I wasn’t sure there was much more to learn, but Azeem certainly showed me that there was a great deal more to explore out there.

Just spending one day on set with this creative volcano of ideas, saw me working with a home engineered steady cam, chasing zombies up the street and of course nearly being eaten by one myself. Not a dull moment to have, with a job for everyone! The things I most admire about Azeem are his modesty, the fact he goes all out to make his films as inclusive and diverse as possible and he is a very good story teller, via words and on screen. This is a rare talent that really does need to be cherished and nurtured.

Action
And ‘Action’

Azeem grew up in Hackney, London and didn’t realise until much later on in life exactly how much film related stuff happens right in his backyard. With Shoreditch and other places just around the corner, there are hubs for artists everywhere around the area.

“I grew up loving action films. Terminator 2 was one of my favourite films. I loved old school Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee too. I watched every martial arts film I could. As I got into my teens I got more into art house cinema, mainly from Asia. I loved films by Takeshi Kitano & Wong Kar Wai. They had unique styles that set them apart from everyone else. You could watch a film from them and you would automatically be able to identify the director.”

Azeem’s inspirations stem from his love of Takeshi Kitano and Wong Kar Wai’s work as directors and Jackie Chan and  Donnie Yen’s martial art choreography. They have a peerless understanding of the way cameras work and where the camera should be positioned to get the best effect for a move. That’s something that has been lost in a lot of Hollywood productions.

The latest addition to Azeem’s showreel is a martial arts short film called ‘Battle Creek Hackney‘. He has been working on this film since May 2015 and he’s very pleased with it. The film had some amazing people on board and he truly believes the future face of action cinema is on his cast.

Azeem showing his crew some footage
Azeem showing his crew some footage

Battle Creek Hackney synopsis:

In the dark heart of East London, war is brewing. A delivery boy, Rakib Rakuen, finds himself fighting to the top floor of Hackney’s most crime-ridden building, the Malakai estate. A ruthless mobster, Grigori Iniquity, wants Rakib’s latest delivery and will go to any means to get it. With only his trusty friend Ronin by his side, can these two survive the worst Hackney has to offer and get to the top floor to deliver that package?

The future looks increasingly promising for Azeem and we are big fans here too. To find out more about Azeem’s work check out his YouTube channel and Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter.

Don’t want to wait? Then why not watch the Battle Creek Hackney teaser trailer below:

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