ABOUT THE FILM
'One-way Glass' is a passion project for filmmaker, Nauman Khalid, which has been a long time in the making from the inception of the idea to the time that it’s taken to bring it to the screen. The film is based on writer Irfan Ahmed Urfi’s book of short stories in Urdu, 'Paon' (Feet), which was published in 2015.
'One-way Glass' is the story of a hapless migrant Pakistani woman Farzana, who is trapped in a violent, sexless, loveless marriage. She is caught in the harsh realities of modern-day London, trying to make a living whilst also struggling through the trials and tribulations of her failing marriage. Leading a double life away from her husband, Habib, Farzana works in a sex shop at night to make ends meet. We see this strong woman's vulnerabilities as she struggles with her work, marriage, faith and attempts to find happiness.
The story of Farzana, an immigrant Pakistani in Britain is affecting, poignant and will resonate with many people. Most importantly, it is a story which represents the human condition – it is a tale of human needs and foibles; the hand that fate deals; of how a life is circumscribed by the given; the choices available in the face of adversity and the decision to make a firm, empowering choice by a woman pushed to the wall. It is a story that gives agency to the third-world female protagonist at its centre, generally shown to be one who should be pitied. 'One-way Glass' portrays her inner life, her compassion and is edifying in that it shows her surmounting the obstacles confronting her and liberating herself.
We feel such stories need to be shared through literature, through art and through cinema to bring about greater understanding of the struggles of people inhabiting the margins and especially of disenfranchised women within these communities who defy the odds to realise a better future for themselves.
This is why we now need a little extra help to put final finishing touches to the film and bring this story to audiences. 'One-way Glass' is an international project with filmmakers and creatives coming together from Germany, Turkey, Italy, Brazil, Colombia, Russia, Australia, UK, India and Pakistan. We welcome anyone who wants to support our dream.
WHAT WE HAVE READY AND WHAT WE NEED A LITTLE HELP WITH
'One-way Glass' is a passion project which has been self-funded so far.
Our film has been in production for close to a year now during which we have had our struggles most of which centred around budget. With our core team, we have a wealth of experience that we are pulling together to realise our project. We shot the film last summer over three days, using an Arri Amira on location in London. The film has been edited and is currently in the final stages of post-production and the start of its festival distribution and marketing. We have managed to pull off a project that we are proud of.
We are now at a crucial juncture where we need help to complete the film to its fullest potential. We currently need some extra funds to help us finish the final touches on post-production and promotion materials. Any additional funds we aim to raise will assist us to kick-start our festival run and get 'One-way Glass' into as many prestigious festivals as possible, so we can share this project with you and the world.
'One-way Glass' is a passion project which has been a long time in the making were I to take into account the time that it’s taken to bring it to the screen from the inception of the idea. My friend, Irfan Ahmed Urfi’s book of Urdu short stories, 'Paon' (Feet), was published in 2015. He had shared the stories in draft form much earlier with me in order to discuss and dissect them and elicit my advice. I found his story 'Gudiyan Patolay' from which we adapted 'One-way Glass' about a Muslim girl who lives in Britain and works in an adult shop intriguing. This story of parallel lives, of how secrets and lies cast long shadows has so much most of us would relate to.
'One-way Glass' is a human and humane story that struck a chord with me. The story stayed with me for a long time after I read it and gradually, over years, the idea to make it into a short film grew and took root.
The film is a little puzzle of the self through Farzana, and other characters, and even myself in that I am a gay Pakistani, Muslim man who made Britain his home. I grew up watching and loving the Pakistani cinema of the 1970s and 80s and the film is imbued with a nostalgia for the home I left behind, greatly reduced though continental distances are because of developments in media and technology.
'One-way Glass', for me, is also an ode to friendship, to my unique life-long bond with Irfan Ahmed Urfi through our collaboration; and, in some measure, an homage to the Pakistani cinema which he and I grew up with which is no more.
MEET OUR TEAM
Director - Nauman Khalid
Our crew is led by filmmaker, Nauman Khalid for whom 'One-way Glass' is a labour of love. Nauman Khalid has what might best be described as an eclectic background. He has a law degree, studied for an MEd. at the University of Manchester and a PhD. in postcolonial literature and theory at Manchester Metropolitan University. He worked for eight years with Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Television as a newscaster and presenter while he was a student, and taught English and History to secondary school students at a private-sector institution in Pakistan. He worked as a trainee under producers working on drama-serials for PTV, Pakistan’s state television channel. Even though English literature is his foremost passion, film, for a long time, felt like “unfinished business” because he was always an avid film buff and, at one point, went for an MA in Television Production to the US. Since that trajectory was thwarted by the onset of personal health issues, his life changed course – an outcome he is very happy with because it gave him the opportunity to read and write (his first love) and travel.
'One-way Glass' is the culmination of his 'other' passion for which he completed an intensive certificate in film-making at the London Film Academy in Fulham and collaborated with his life-long friend, Irfan Ahmed Urfi and a team of superlative creatives.
Writer - Irfan Ahmed Urfi
Irfan Ahmed Urfi is a seasoned writer of Urdu literature. He has written for newspapers, magazines and journals and has three books to his credit. Two of these are books of Urdu short stories. 'One-way Glass' is based on a story from his debut collection 'Paon'. He has also written a biography of his grandfather who was an eminent Punjabi poet. Urfi has many strings to his bow. Not only has he written poetry and literature in Urdu, he has also acted in tele-serials on Pakistan Television and has written several dramas for television. His plays, like his stories, defy societal norms and represent people on the fringes of society. Two of his plays 'Nail-polish' and 'Zip' gained acclaim for their controversial content and bold portrayals.
'One-way Glass' is Urfi’s third film. He has written a film on the transgender community of Punjab, 'A Documentary' and the recent Pakistani blockbuster, 'Baaji' which garnered him plaudits and is currently being featured in festivals around the world, the most recent of which was the 'Tongues on Fire, UK Asian Film Festival' in London.
Amna Khalid as Farzana
Amna Khalid is an academic by profession. She received her DPhil. from St. Anthony's College, University of Oxford and is currently Associate Professor of South Asian History at an elite liberal arts college in the US (Carleton). She has taught at Oxford, Warwick, Sussex and the University of Cape Town. Amna was very active in dramatics at university in Lahore, Pakistan during her undergraduate years at LUMS. She is also a dancer of Bharatanatyam, an ancient classical dance form from India. Amna is committed to social change and champions the choices and freedoms that should be available to women not only in the west but in developing countries as well through her academic work.
Steve Aaron-Sipple as Tom
Steve Aaron-Sipple is a London-based actor who has worked on a number of award-winning projects ranging from music videos, commercials and television to film. He has starred in One Direction’s video 'Night Changes' and he can currently be seen on Netflix starring in 'Cuckoo' alongside Greg Davies and Andie MacDowell and also as the face of the commercial for 'Rockface'. He also has a number of feature films due for release in 2020 and 2021 such as 'Creatures', 'Card Dead' and 'Cam Girls'.
Noah Butt as Habib
Born and raised in west London of Asian heritage, Noah trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and was a member of the National Youth Theatre. His credits include playing the lead role of Raj in the mini series 'Londonamastey'. Other films include 'Millennial Killer', 'Happy Retirement' and the crime thriller 'Glamour'. Noah also appeared in the Channel 4 series, 'Escape' and ITV’s, 'Beecham House'.
Producer - Aybuke Kavas
Aybuke Kavas is a producer, makeup artist and owner of Lunar Dragon Productions. After an academic education in film studies, Aybuke followed her passion for visual storytelling, starting a career in film production. She founded Lunar Dragon in 2016, a media company providing production, script and makeup services. She has since produced numerous short films that have found success in festivals, screening and being nominated for awards at festivals including Cannes, London Short Film Festival, London International Film Festival, World Fest Houston and Shorts on Tap. Aybuke is based in London, currently working on post-production of a recent short she has produced and developing a feature with a long time collaborator.
Cinematographer - Markus Ilschner
German-born Cinematographer, Markus Ilschner developed his camera affinity early in childhood. Capturing family events, school trips and shooting his own short films, he soon found himself diving into the magic world of cinema. After successful graduation from school, he started an apprenticeship at the famous Bavaria Film Studios in Munich, which helped him gain theoretical and practical experience and also allowed him to break into the industry as a camera trainee. Since 2008, Markus worked his way up in the camera department on national and international sets for features, commercials, dramas and non-fiction work. In 2015 he decided to make the transition to full-time cinematographer and found his new home in London where he is currently living and working.
Music - Sarmad Ghafoor
Sarmad Ghafoor is a highly accomplished musician who has been behind the most popular programme of contemporary music in Pakistan – both on television and the internet – 'Coke Studio' and has produced songs with some of the leading names in the Pakistani music industry who have performed internationally such as Abida Parveen, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Ali Sethi and many others. He has also composed the soundtrack of the most expensive film in Pakistani film history, 'The Legend of Maula Jatt' which was due for an end-May worldwide-release on the festival of Eid but has been postponed due to the Corona Virus situation.
Art - Ali Kazim
The poster for 'One-Way Glass' is currently being designed by Ali Kazim, one of Pakistan’s leading young contemporary artists. Ali Kazim trained in Fine Art at the prestigious National College of Arts in Lahore and received an MFA from UCL’s Slade School of Fine Art. His work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK; Queensland Art Gallery, Australia and many other important art collections the world over. He has a forthcoming solo show at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford next year – a first for a Pakistani artist.