Bilal Hussain is an award winning indie filmmaker, since 2011 he has written, directed & produced seven short films. This year (2021) he will celebrate ten years anniversary as an indie filmmaker. He is a Pakistani-Canadian citizen, who lives in Esbjerg, Denmark. He works at a local television station "Tv-Glad Esbjerg" as an anchor & cameraman and has his own film critic segment program. Besides work and filmmaking, he has written two crime-fiction books and has been a film judge at the "Tokyo Lift-Off Sessions" and "Box Short Film Festival". He is now writing his eight short film "Hvor Blev Kærligheden Af" and he will also be the film judge at the "Istanbul Golden Film Festival" later this (2021) year.
1: Your film is entered in our Best Director Award. What is your film about?
I entered my two shorts "The Wheelchair And The Trap" & "Jessica: Part Two" for the Best Director Award on Film Freeway, where both films received a Semi-Finalist. Both of the shorts are fictional films. "The Wheelchair And The Trap" is a crime-drama, fiction, which centers on a cop working a weapon smuggling case and under the investigation she is gunned down and ends up in a wheelchair. From there she tries to get back on her feet and tries to find out who gunned her down. The other film "Jessica: Part Two" is a romantic-drama, fiction, which centers on a disable woman trying to overcome her breakup from the first film in the "Jessica" universe in 2017.
2: What are your ambitions with your project?
One day I hope to make a feature film or a drama-series out of the storylines of all my short films.
3: How was the shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
The film shootings went well, sometimes it was difficult due to the locations. I had to figure out where to put the cameras to get the right angels for the scenes because I hadn't seen the locations. Other than that, the shootout scene on "The Wheelchair And The Trap" was done in covid-19 time and it was the last scene we shot due to lockdown but it went well. Nothing surprised me really. The film shootings on "Jessica: Part Two" went well, there were not many problems and for the film shooting I used only one camera with different angels.
4: For what target group is your film?
I have not thought about that but I think "The Wheelchair And The Trap" & "Jessica: Part Two" is for teenagers and adults.
5: Why should distributors buy your film?
The storylines on "The Wheelchair And The Trap" & "Jessica: Part Two" are unique. The stories are not something we have seen in the cinemas before and I think if the distributors buy the films, then the audience will be entertained.
6: How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
I started making short films in 2011, my first five short films were not good but I learned from each one and from there "The Wheelchair And The Trap" which is my sixth short and "Jessica: Part Two" seventh short film which are written well. The storylines are gipping and entertaining but there is room for betterment. My films characterize emotions, drama, love and most of all to make world a better place and forgiveness.
7: Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?
I wanted to become a police man / detective but due to my physical disability "AAA syndrome" I can't ever become one. It was hard to accept when I was a growing up. I also couldn't play sports for long time and that irritated me a lot every day. I love watching movies and series with my dad so then I thought, let's just make films and write crime-fictions books. Which I have been proud of because in 2020 and now in 2021 it just made success for me.
8: Who is your greatest role model?
My film role models are Hollywood directors and actors to name a few Tony Scott, Christopher Nolan, Michael Bay, Ben Affleck, Martin Scorsese, Rober Di Niro, Al Pacino, Leonardo Dicaprio, Will Smith and more. Other than them, from Denmark it is Thomas Vinterberg and Susanne Bier.
9: Which movies are your favorites? Why?
There are many films which I love, I can't tell everyone because the interview will be very long. Hehe. I think "Goodfellas", "The Godfather" 1,2 & 3, "End Of Watch", "The Departed", "Bad Boys" 1 & 2 because all have great storylines, drama, action. It's little sad that movies like this aren't coming. Other than these great Hollywood movies, there are a few from Denmark "Another Round" ("Druk"), "Enforcement" ("Shorta") because again the storylines and great characters in them.
10: Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
I see many films, drama-series and short films where I get inspiration but also, I think very deep and sometimes I just sit at a bar or cafe and start writing which helps developing good storylines and characters.
11: Which topics interest you the most?
Crime-Drama, Romantic-Drama, Gangster / Mob, Action and Musicals like La La Land, The Prom & High School Musical films.
12: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
This year (2021) I have ten years anniversary as an indie filmmaker with seven short films and I have a great festival run since last year (2020) and I am just great full to my family, friends, my film actors / actresses and film festivals for their support and love.
13: What do you consider most important about filming?
Every aspect is important but most of all the story, if you don't have a great or unique storyline then you will ruin the film. Also, the acting is important as well. It you have a great film crew then then you're all set. Don't think about how much money you are going to put in the film because it's not going to make your film entertaining.
14: Which film technique do you consider the best?
If you are an indie filmmaker with low budget then any camera would do to make a good short film, feature film, drama-series or web-series. At the beginning of filmmaking, it doesn't matter how big your camera or lens is. As you get experience and know what you are doing then make films with film camera and get a good crew to help you.
15: How would you rate current filmmaking?
If we talk about Hollywood movies then I think there are way too many superhero movies. There aren't many movies like "Goodfellas", "The Godfather" and "Taxi Driver", but if we talk about indie cinema then the quality is good, sometimes I think it's better than Hollywood because the storylines are gripping and out of the box. Also, I think the filmmaking is gone down because the drama-series have overtaken them due to character building and story building because it's easy to create.
16: What can make you angry in a movie?
Bad storyline, unrealistic action, bad character building and bad acting.
17: Who supports you in your film career?
My family, close friends, my film network friends and my colleagues at the local television station "Tv-Glad Esbjerg" in Esbjerg, Denmark where I live.
18: What are the reactions of your surroundings to your film?
Reactions are good right now, many people like both films "The Wheelchair And Trap" / "Jessica: Part Two" and both films have a great film festival run as well which I am thankful for .
19: Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
Nope, I haven't been to any major film festivals like "Cannes", "Toronto International Film Festival" or "Venice International Film Festival", due to covid-19 I couldn't attend festivals in Europe and USA. Hopefully one day I'll make it there.
20: What are your next projects?
I was going to produce my first Danish feature film, but it is on hold due to covid-19 and instead I have shortened the storyline to a short film which will begin filming soon in 2021. No dates have been decided. This will be my eight-short film in ten years.