Beds, Herts & Bucks

Muslim Luton filmmaker to tackle 'hatred and extremism'

Rizwan Wadan on the set of The Favourite film Image copyright 20th Century Fox
Image caption Rizwan Wadan (left) working on the film The Favourite with Olivia Colman (right)

A Muslim filmmaker who worked on a Star Wars film and The Favourite has produced four short films for a £1.2m project to "tackle hatred, extremism and terrorism".

Rizwan Wadan, 38, who lives in Luton, is behind The Error in Terror project and wants to "give Muslims a voice".

He said "negativity" towards Muslims is "getting worse".

By taking skills learnt "stabilising cameras" in the industry, he wants to "stabilise the world", he said.

Image copyright Pixeleyed Pictures
Image caption "Through positive films and being active in the media Muslim's can help change the narrative and bring communities together" Rizwan said

"Positive stories need to be highlighted," he said, so he put in £70,000 of his own money to get the project off the ground along with funding from other investors.

"I've got to solve problems on set and balance and stabilise cameras, but I felt 'what is the point of doing that when the world is unstabilised and unbalanced?'

"So take the the skills-set and the mindset that is taught in the film industry and then apply that in the real world."

Image copyright Rizwan Wadan
Image caption Rizwan Wadan, who has worked on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, said he had developed "one of the most versatile camera stabilisation systems"

He has made four films that have been inspired by "tragic real life events":

  • Martyrs: a story about acts of far-right terrorism
  • Characters: a drama about forcing people to rethink their views
  • Terrorism Has No Religion: a film intended to deter acts of terrorism
  • The Bag Thief: a comedy short about conceptions of a Muslim with a bag

"There is so much negativity in films, drama, news and since 9/11. It's getting worse and worse," Mr Wadan said.

"If the visual image is dividing us, then its through the visual image we can bring people together."

Image copyright Pixeleyed Pictures
Image caption A still from the film Characters

All four films, a mixture of shorts and longer features, are being shown for the first time in public at The Bricklayers Arms in Luton between 12:00 BST and 16:00 on Saturday.

Mr Wadan is based at Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire and he said he had ambitions to start a British Muslim Film Institute.

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