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Biography
Topics
African Americans
Art & Politics
Film & Video
Human Rights
Islam
Islamophobia
Media
Multiculturalism
Racism/Racial Justice
Religion/Theology/Spirituality

Qasim “Q” Basir is an award-winning filmmaker who often weaves autobiographical elements into his movies. He offers dynamic post-screening discussions of his films as well as engaging keynotes that explore issues of race and Islam, drawing on his experiences growing up Black and Muslim in the United States.

He directed his first feature film in 2010, MOOZ-lum, starring Nia Long, Evan Ross and Danny Glover. The coming-of-age tale about a Muslim boy going to college around the time of the September 11 attacks has received much critical acclaim, with nominations from the NAACP Image Awards and the Black Reel Awards. It won Best Narrative Feature at the 14th Annual Urban World Film Festival in New York. The film also gained international momentum, opening in over 25 countries. Given the current political climate, the film is once again in high demand as it speaks to the fear, hatred, and hostility towards Islam and Muslims, providing a powerful and complex story of what it means to be Muslim in America.

Basir’s most recent film, Destined, has won nine awards, including “Best Director” and “Best Actor” at the American Black Film Festival, as well as “Best Narrative Feature” at Urbanworld.” Destined tells the parallel stories of Sheed and Rasheed - both played by Cory Hardrict. In one world, he is a hardened criminal who has spent years building his drug empire. In another, he is an ambitious architect who has been working his way up the corporate ladder. Uniquely illustrated through parallel lives, Destined explores the idea of destiny as well as how the smallest incident can manifest itself into a life-changing event.

Basir’s forthcoming movie, A Boy, A Girl, A Dream, opens in theaters nationwide this Fall. This film takes place on the night of the 2016 Presidential election. Cass (Omari Hardwick), an L.A. club promoter, takes a thrilling and emotional journey with Frida (Meagan Good), a Midwestern visitor. She challenges him to revisit his broken dreams - while he pushes her to discover hers.

Basir’s earlier films include his first short, Glimpse, which won the Drama Category in the One Nation Film contest and The Inspiration of Barack, for which Qasim received the “Inspirational Filmmaker of the Year” award from the Memphis Black Writers Film Festival.

Testimonials

"The presentation was excellent! Qasim connected with our audience right from the start. The students were impacted by his perspective. Many saw Islam in a very different way…The timing couldn’t have been more opportune.”
— David E. Cabrera, professor, Laredo Community College, Laredo TX

“Qasim is a creative force that I feel blessed to know on both personal and professional levels. He is also truly an inspiration to so many young people who have encountered obstacles in their lives. After overcoming life-threatening challenges, he became determined to become a dynamic and influential filmmaker spreading powerful and inspirational stories. To fulfill his dream, he had to overcome the fact that he is in an industry in which his identity as a Black American Muslim is almost completely absent. His perseverance inspires all he encounters including the major Hollywood stars he works with on his films.”
— Amer F. Ahmed, Director of Intercultural Teaching and Faculty Development, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“It was one of the best events I’ve gone to in a really long time. I think the students did a great job in not only picking the movie, but bringing the director here who left the audience in awe by speaking in a way that was open, honest, real, and relatable.”
— Rogelio Encizo, UCG and Student Support Advisor, Madison Area Technical College, Madison WI

Mooz-lum deserves a broad audience. It addition to being just simply a good film, with enough power to be emotionally both crushing and uplifting, it offers some much needed building blocks for American society today to develop mutual understanding across lines of faith... In Basir’s discussion of his Muslim faith and its role in his life today, I was struck by a sense of honesty and deep conviction...Basir has tackled a topic all too often treated as politically taboo by governments that manipulate religious institutions for political gain, and as religiously taboo by some religious leaders who in other contexts may have subjected Basir to exile or worse for his telling of almost unbearably ugly truths.”
— Jennifer S. Bryson, Director of Operations and Development, Center for Islam and Religious Freedom(CIRF), Washington, DC

Speeches

Qasim Basir is available to screen his films - Mooz-lum and Destined - followed by lively and engaging post-screening discussions.

He can also do keynotes and lecture presentations, drawing on his experiences as an award-winning filmmaker, exploring issues of diversity, race and Islam in film as well as growing up Black and Muslim in the United States.

Speech titles include:
Pursuing Creativity with a Purpose
For over 100 years of film and TV, the narrative of this country, and much of the world, has been controlled by a small group of people. And it has shaped the way people see different cultures, faiths and communities - many times, in an imbalanced way. It has only been in the last 20-30 years that more diverse voices have been able to speak their truths and contribute to the re-education of a portrayal that's been one-sided for far too long. This is the day to hear and tell the truth about who we are, in whatever medium you choose, to create a country that is meant to be "United."

Black & Muslim: From Fear to Unity
The Power of our Unique Voices

Media
My Truth, an early project that led to the making of Mooz-lum