In a nation divided by fear and ignorance, it is imperative to tell stories that build empathy through understanding; to fight against the reduction of nuanced realities to tweetable bites. Help us tell a Muslim story built on dreams that can only come true in America.
In Partnership With
The Film Collaborative
Use the WishList to contribute cash and loan items - or - Make a contribution by selecting an incentive directly.
About The Project
What a way to start a campaign!
• You hit our first matching goal of $5,000 within HOURS.
• You got us to 30% of our goal in TWO DAYS.
Let's get half way there!! At this rate, $50,000 is just around the corner.
I knew to dread a Trump presidency.
I didn’t know it would come so sharp, so fast, so . . . benignly tweetable:
As a Muslim American, it of course struck a terrible blow to my sense of safety and security in the country I call home. But more urgently, it intruded on my family’s plans for my mother, a permanent resident in need of life-contingent medical care, to finalize her move into the United States; she was due to arrive ten days into the ban.
Even though my mother is from Pakistan, a country not on the forsaken list -- yet -- I was concerned about her safe entry. HLS was detaining green card holders. Everything was in chaos.
But we persisted with the plan. What else could we do?
I was out shopping in preparation for her arrival with my husband when I heard about the protests at LAX. I urged him to take me back home so I could get my bandana and protein bar and head to the airport to join.
When I arrived, the signs and chants hit my gut instantly:
It suddenly felt so personal -- like every single human in that crowd was there for me, for my mother, for my community -- their community -- OUR community.
Unexpected, uncontrollable tears started streaming down my cheeks. I cried, chanting between sobs.
A middle aged woman noticed. She muscled through the thick crowd towards me and she pulled me into a strong, comforting hug. “It’s ok,” she said. “We’re here for you.” She squeezed me with love, pulled me out of the hug, smiled, and then turned around and continued chanting.
That was it.
I felt a renewed faith rise in me. There was more support for Muslims more than I knew. Support all around me. Support in the crowd.
A few days later, as I was pitching FORBIDDEN STEPS to another difficult private investor, it hit me like a brick.
The crowd -- YOU!
This project, a uniquely Muslim-American story of patriotism and the right to pursue the American dream, a project I’ve been working on for a decade, a project with a championed screenplay and award winning team that has been near impossible to fully fund via private investment because of its “difficult” themes, might find its champions here, with you.
Our team knows what we have is special, not because of the toils of a decade and the hundreds of hours of writing and thinking that have gone into it, or the various industry programs that have stamped it with approval, but because we are certain that a film like this just is not out there in the market.
So I ask you to empower us. Together we can tell a story that humanizes a faith and a people that have long been misrepresented.
Together we can celebrate the universals of humanity in its diverse multitude.
And whatever our beliefs, together we can believe in a nation and a world that is safe and welcoming for all kinds of dreams.
In pride and solidarity,
Writer & Director
We know that right now people are at a loss -- the world seems to only be turning into a more foreboding place to live for so many. We also know that money is tight for a lot of folks. What to give -- and to whom -- can feel overwhelming.
If you're on the fence about contributing to our campaign, consider the levels on which you're supporting your community. By giving to our campaign, you're supporting:
• At least three women and minority owned small businesses (more depending on your incentive selection!), supporting often-overlooked entreprenuers
• in an industry that regularly faces criticism for gross underrepresentation of women and minorities, helping to close the gender and racial gaps in Hollywood
• to tell a story about a Muslim immigrant family, helping to increase representation on screen and cultural awareness
• that passes the Bechdel test, creating complex roles for women of color
• and offers a precious moment of reflection we in the West only seem to be able to afford in the theater, alone with one another and our thoughts.
Take a look below to get to know the team behind this project:
Bottom line, campaigns like ours are about principles.
Not unlike the wildly divided nation in which FORBIDDEN STEPS finds its home, cinema has an unrealized promise; to be a flickering light of truth on the dark celuloid road where we as a species strain to haul hulking societies toward justice.
Join us in believing the future will be better. Join us in telling stories that will get us there.
Majeed Khawar, a police officer, has worked hard to assimilate in the land he came to when he was seventeen. At forty-three, he has done well; he is respected at work, and after the early death of his wife, is the single father to a confident daughter, Dua, now seventeen herself, a high school senior with good grades and lead performer in the dance team for Chicago's bustling South Asian bubble of Devon. All is status quo until Majeed's orthodox father, Baba, arrives from Pakistan without notice.
Back in Pakistan, Baba’s traditionalism had created a rift with Majeed’s late wife, Fatima. Seeing a chance to succeed with his granddaughter where he failed with her mother, Baba passively tries to enforce his morality on Dua, a move that rubs salt on old wounds for Majeed. When this moral mentorship causes Dua to give up dancing, Majeed must face his internal turmoil and recon with his chance to stand up to his father once and for all.
Meanwhile, at work, Majeed faces a law that isn't as blind to his background as he once thought. When a slight is made at his father's mosque through implication of terrorist entanglement, Majeed is appalled and wishes to deny the allegations outright-- but of course doesn't get in the way of the investigation. That is, until he is asked to go undercover at the mosque. Although resistant at first, Majeed jumps to action when the law turns its eye toward none other than Baba.
This is the tale of a man at crossroads: commitment to country and career, the expectation of tradition and family, and faith in himself and the truth.
1. FOLLOW "FORBIDDEN STEPS" ON ALL OUR SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS
2. SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT FORBIDDEN STEPS
Tell your friends, colleagues, and neighbours that we are trying to write Muslim lives into cinema with our new film! Share our social media posts, our campaign page, and our backer updates!
3. KEEP FOLLOWING OUR CAMPAIGN!
We'll be posting updates on our campaign progress and a few glimpses behind the scenes as we head into production!
You have fiscal sponsorship through The Film Collaborative? Does that mean my pledge tax-deductible?
- It does! Minus the value of the incentives you receive. At the end of the campaign, we'll deduct that amount from your total donation and send you a receipt.
If you hit your goal, what happens to the money you make after that?
- Right now, our projected costs are at the bare minimum to get the movie made. Any contributions beyond our goal will show up on screen -- better set dressing, more time to get the perfect take -- or will go toward paying our highly trained crew the more than minimum wage they deserve.
Why are you using Seed&Spark instead of some other platform?
• We're fans of Seed&Spark because it's run by women and its mission revolves around empowering diverse voices in media-- especially now, during #100DaysOfDiversity! This commitment to amplifying marginalized voices is a perfect match for our project.
Does it cost extra to ship internationally?
• We love our international fans! It may take a little longer and unfortunately cost a few cents more, but we so welcome your support and participation in the campaign. If you have any other logistical questions we're happy to help -- just drop us a line.
Inclusion StatementFirst, our team is comprised of women from all kinds of backgrounds; Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Native American to name a few. Second, that team is telling a story that only happens in an inclusive world; it's about an immigrant family, religious and ethnic minorities, and their dreams.
About This Team
We're an award winning group of women with a goal to change perspectives! Click on our headhots above for more information, or watch this video to hear from us directly: