Beachroad Magazine meet up with Filmmaker Faisal Hashmi for a Q&A session and a “cawfee” as they say in the movies, well New York movies based in the 80's but you get the jist. Faisal is the founder of Dubai based Hashmic House Films.
YOUR FIRST JOB? //
A part time salesman for a week for an exhibition when I was 16. I was an introvert throughout school and university so it was one of the most terrifying experiences I ever had, but I'm very glad for it because I learned so much in a span of a week and it helped me open up more and communicate better. I think everyone should do a sales job for a small amount of time. It can really make you understand human behavior, body language and how to persuade people.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION? //
I'm a filmmaker on a freelance basis, which means I juggle between making my own short films in my free time and using the same skillset to make videos and advertisements for clients across Dubai. I'm very fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living and while it isn't always cosy, I wouldn't trade it for anything else for as long as I can.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST LOVE? //
An obvious answer – cinema. I live and breathe films and seek them out from every part of the world. I can't imagine a world without them. They're both an outlet for entertainment for me as well as a mode of inspiration. I try to watch a film a day at least, and once watched four of them in a day in cinemas. So you can understand that I don't exaggerate when I say cinema is the greatest love of my life.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR? //
Being stuck in a rut day in and day out with nothing to aspire towards for the rest of my life. It's a pretty frightening thought to me. That and lizards. In fact, lizards may have an edge.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? //
Being in a cot covered with the TV in the distance on my right playing a musical that I'm barely able to watch through the cot's wooden bars. The weird thing is my parents don't remember any such moment when I bring it up and claim that my cot as a baby was never near on the left of a TV, so maybe my memory went so far back that I recalled an entirely different life. Something to write a film about!
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? //
I don't generally have a role model when it comes to life decisions because everyone's life is so different and colored by the choices they make and some that are made for them, but I always just try not be a jerk to people and that seems to work out great. In terms of work ethic, I really admire Tom Cruise and the rampant dedication he has to everything he works on. Leaving his personal life aside, you can read some of his interviews to know just how much commitment he puts into every film he makes even when he's just an actor in it and the respect he has for his craft. You'd be hard pressed to find a single film where he's phoned his performance in, which is something I really admire and hope to follow. Do your best at everything you attempt to do.
WHAT WAS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? //
I'm generally pretty terrible when it comes to gifts, but I last gifted a friend of mine who's a huge Star Wars buff an Arabic-themed Star Wars hoodie and T-shirt. She loved it, so for once I felt like I didn't buy a useless gift.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? //
To be in touch with your creative side and do as many things as you can. Try to write a book, a poem, a screenplay, make music, and paint something. Only when you try things will you know what you are passionate about and it might just change your life from that point forward. Don't be afraid to fail and embrace happy accidents. Sometimes, the greatest thing to have happened to you was the thing you initially regretted. But then again, my kid would probably be fifty years old at that point so safe to say it would be too late.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST TRAIT? //
I have this thing about wanting to avoid conflict or confrontation, which on its own I don't necessarily consider to be a bad trait. But a byproduct of the trait is that I sometimes find it very hard to say 'no' to someone or something I clearly don't want to do, and then regret taking part in it and remain frustrated about it because I couldn't utter a two-letter word and get out of something just because saying 'no' is a pretty confrontational situation, but I'm getting better at it and every time I successfully do so I feel way better about myself immediately afterwards.
WHAT IS THE THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? //
I hate people with a bad attitude and especially when that attitude includes a superiority complex. Nothing makes me want to never talk to a person again than when someone who thinks they're better than anyone else and acts that way in public. I've dropped good friends because of it and those are the exact kind of people I absolutely want to avoid in my life. Humility and self-deprecating humor are my two favorite traits.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? //
An unlucky guy because it would likely be a pretty boring film. But in a dream world, Shia Labeouf because he's absolutely insane and would probably re-interpret my life into some sort of crazy performance art that would actually justify a film.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MUSIC? //
I love all kinds of music and have had phases in different times of my life, but my favorite musicians tend to be alternative rock or pop rock bands like Coldplay, Snow Patrol, One Republic, The Script. 3 Doors Down and Radiohead. I enjoy singing a lot, so those are the bands I really enjoy because I can sing their music really well. But on the independent side, I love Glen Hansard and Scott Matthews.
WHAT IS THE LAST RECORD OR DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? //
The soundtrack of this beautiful story-driven videogame called ‘To the Moon’. It's such a wonderful videogame and the developer of the game is also the writer and composer for it so I really wanted to support the memorable piano score he produced on his own.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK? //
I don't really have one all-time favorite because I've been reading fiction since I was a kid. As a kid, it was the Goosebumps series. I got the bug to make horror films solely because of that book series and I'm glad for it. As an adult, anything that Stephen King writes is pretty good in my book. I also like book puns, as you can see.
WHAT IS THE LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? //
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, which came as a recommendation from a friend who wanted me to read it because she has a gender-bending modern take on it she wants to write. It's a very good book with a bleak outlook but a strong message.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU? //
Great work inspires me, no matter what medium it is from, especially knowing that it was created by someone with few resources but a strong will to get it done. Great stories also inspire me, and I try to seek them all around me because that's the biggest asset I have as a filmmaker.
WHAT IS THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? //
I was once at a zoo in Karachi as a teenager and was fascinated to see an elephant riding around the zoo because it was the first time I had seen an elephant. In my excitement, I broke away from my family and stood right underneath the elephant, touched the elephant's leg as it rode visitors around, and turned to my mom and yelled my excitement over touching an elephant's leg. A second later, the elephant pulled up its leg and kicked me away at least fifty meters and that's no exaggeration. I landed with a thud far away as onlookers arrived and told me that I'm lucky the elephant didn't crush me because it gets terrified when people touch his leg from behind and attempts to crush the person. Suffice to say I've never touched an elephant since.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DESTINATION? //
Tunis. It's a beautiful city that blends the best of Arab and French sensibilities and I had a wonderful time. That I'd love to visit? Los Angeles. It's been a dream ever since I became fascinated with films.
WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE DESTINATION? //
A movie theater with a crying baby.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? //
It's usually a toss-up between watching a film, playing a videogame or reading something. I also listen to a lot of podcasts that help me wind down after a long day of editing.
WHY DUBAI? //
Because it's one of the only cities in the world which is about what you bring to it. Different nationalities from around the world infuse it with their culture and it truly becomes a melting pot that represents the entire world. And for filmmakers, there are so many interesting stories to discover that you wouldn't find in other parts of the world simply because they're colored by so many multi-cultural points of view.
ARE YOU SPORTY? //
I used to play basketball back in college a lot more than I get the time to today, but I still play billiards every weekend. I'm hoping to take out more time for sports next year.
BEACH OR DESERT? //
I've unfortunately only visited deserts in the hottest weathers so I don't have the most pleasant memories. Because of which, the beach gets an edge.
URBAN OR RURAL? //
Living in such an urban city all my life, I do prefer the calm sense of lifestyle I experience in rural cities. I visited Nepal last year and it was a great change of pace visiting village towns that felt so much more intimate.
CATS OR DOGS? //
I have nothing against dogs, but cats all the way.
COFFEE OR TEA? //
Not a huge fan of either, but I find coffee to at least have a function to keep me awake in those critical moments where I need to continue working for hours.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? //
Comedians like Will Ferrell, Louis CK, Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Schwartz. I'm also a big fan of internet sketch comedy series Jake and Amir, which has more than 800 episodes online and I've seen each one of them more than ten times.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? //
I've cried at the unlikeliest of films, but the last film that I truly remember shedding a tear in was a very underrated boxing drama called ‘Warrior’ that no one watched, but other than that, Youtube buffering.
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE? //
Make your mark on the world. Leave a piece of art behind as your legacy because life is short but art lives on. And don't just move the camera. Move the audience.
Check out Faisal's awesome short horror movie SLEIGHT