FEATURE FILM: “Healing Life,” Opening

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I edited this opening using a crayon-stylized effect on passing-street footage that we shot. I also shot the footage with the man in the bathroom.

In 2006, after having produced several TV shows as a creative team at STV, Zahed Sharif, Fathem Shahab Ruma, and I decided to make a short film together. We met at Highland Park in Jamaica, Queens, every Sunday in July of 2006 with story ideas. After almost two months of discussing ideas, Zahed proposed the concept of this film which was based on a true story. It promptly became apparent that the only way to do justice to the story is by doing a feature. With no money in hand, we wrote the script in two weeks and shot the film over the course of eight weekends in order to catch the holiday TV season. We exhausted our TV connections for support; the film was shot on borrowed cameras -five in all- and the editing had to move between four computers belonging to my colleagues. Eventually, I purchased a Macbook Pro to complete the edit. Quite remarkably, we had access to only two lights to light the entire film, and we had no boom pole. All in all, 54 scenes were shot, averaging almost 7 scenes shot every weekend… talk about run and gun! Unfortunately, as the editing progressed, so did the lives of the creators; one got married and the other left the country for a few months. Almost two years later, in 2008, I collected the external harddrives and revisited the edit again. We decided to finish the edit in one go… a ploy that worked for us as it assured its acceptance at three festivals. “Healing LIfe” was promptly bought by Channel I in Bangladesh for the Eid holiday programming in December of 2008.

During a trip to New York, ambitious Rana, originally from Bangladesh, becomes inspired by his “Uncle Jamal,” a liberation-war friend of his father. Rana decides to stay in the US and marries Jamal’s daughter, an Americanized desi girl. However, after a marriage and a bitter divorce with the daughter, he becomes a disillusioned, undocumented immigrant. Diana, a widowed American citizen and single mother, sympathetically proposes a “contract marriage.” Rana finds himself obtaining his Green Card and the freedom he had hoped for. However, the situation becomes complicated. Should he stay with the only woman who has loved him, or leave to seek the American dream he had set out for? (Running time: 90 minutes)

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