218. Musa Syeed (Filmmaker, New York)

MUSA SYEED is an independent filmmaker and writer. His first narrative feature, VALLEY OF SAINTS, will premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film was shot on location in Kashmir during the military curfew of Fall 2010, with Nicholas Bruckman as producer. As writer/director, Syeed received the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Production Award for his screenplay, a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, and a National Geographic All Roads grant. In anticipation of the film, he was named one of the “10 to Watch in 2010” by the Independent Magazine. The film also participated in BAVC’s Producers Institute for New Media Technologies, where Syeed developed a new media engagement project for the film.

He recently completed production on 30 MOSQUES, a feature documentary following two young American Muslims journeying to 30 mosques in 30 day across America. As part of the project, he developed an interactive storytelling platform at ITVS/Mozilla’s Living Docs Hackathon.

His other recent film BRONX PRINCESS, which follows a New York teenager reuniting with her royal father in Africa, was in competition at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam and the Berlin International Film Festival, and the film won Best Documentary Short at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. The film, co-directed with Yoni Brook, was broadcast nationally on PBS’ POV September 2009.

Syeed’s previous film A SON’S SACRIFICE, about a father and son who run a halal slaughterhouse in New York, won Best Documentary Short from the Tribeca Film Festival and the International Documentary Association Awards in 2007. The film, also co-produced with Yoni Brook, had its national broadcast in January 2008 on PBS’ Independent Lens.

He was also a co-director on THE CALLING, a documentary miniseries following young people training to become religious leaders in America. The program was broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens in December 2010. He is also a contributor to TIME’s online video reports. Co-producing with Bassam Tariq, he covered stories on Muslim theater and controversial politicians in New York.

As a writer, Syeed also produced original theatrical work for the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. He has also worked as an educator in schools, community centers, and prisons. He was an adjunct professor of documentary production at Williams College.

Syeed was a Fulbright Fellow in Cairo, Egypt, where he focused on experimental filmmaking. He is an alumnus of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies Department.







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