Writer and director Suman Hanif campaigns for misrepresented South Asian GenZ to have better visibility in mainstream media
A young Bradford filmmaker is exploring the identity crisis and misrepresentation of GenZ South Asians in the UK through her new film.
Pakistan-born Suman Hanif, who came to Britain at ten-years-old, graduated with a First Class Honours degree at Bradford College, and is no newcomer to making films.
With her debut a few years ago, she made a significant mark with her first documentary film titled ‘Plates’, gathering acclaim after it was screened across Yorkshire as well as at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea.
Having done numerous projects since, she’s now is readying herself for releasing her next film ‘Tell Me About It’, which features a segregated immigrant family with limited horizons facing a low point in their lives.
While this layered story centres around two British Pakistani teenagers, it shines a spotlight on modern South Asian family dynamics, and carries darker themes involving a kidnapping, politics and drug crime.
Created, written and produced by Suman herself (Plates, True Colours, What Next?), the majority of the cast and crew are based across the North of England, including Leeds, Birmingham and Bradford, with Asad Shan (Welcome to London) the only one from down South.
Speaking to Asian Express, Suman says: “I wanted to produce a film providing a true presentation of British Asian filmmaking, culture and identity.
“In a time of heightened discrimination, and systematic and political exclusion of people without a ‘mainstream’ profile, it is pivotal to tell stories like this. This film explores the prevalence of identity crisis in immigrant communities today.
“There is nothing worst then feeling invisible, and ‘Tell Me About It’ is a film for the invisible audience, anyone experiencing an identity crisis or who would ‘prefer not to say’ when asked about themselves.
“We have talked about collective diversity, what we really need right now is a conversation about embracing the diversity of individuals.
“In this film we see a Muslim family and community, who are often misrepresented and seen as extreme characters.
“Their religion is usually what defines them.
“But we of course know that people are not one dimensional. We all have a lot more to our identity than our faith.
“‘Tell Me About It’ looks to humanise the British Muslim community, we want viewers to connect with the characters and to understand on a deeper level the important things they have to say.
“It’s been so long since our screens were graced with something like ‘East is East’ and ‘Bend it like Beckham’ that was appreciated by audiences for finding humour and hope within the serious social issues explored such of the theme’s race, immigration, and identity.
“Likewise, with the love and support, ‘Tell Me About It’ has potential to reach its audiences and contribute greatly to the British Asian genre and admired for its interesting spin on prevalent social issues.”
PLOT: ‘Tell Me About It’ – The story centres around two British Pakistani teenagers, Amara and Halima who plot a fun adventure from Bradford to London, but their circumstances take a dire turn. Amara is kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity with Halima; the daughter of an acclaimed politician whose future plans to tackle drug crime in the city challenged the top goon in town. During this drastic and confusing coincidence, both Amara and the kidnapper are about to find themselves in inexplicable situations, confronting their own unconscious demons which reflects the heart of this drama.