Aqsa Altaf to direct Disney film on how Pakistani family spends Eid in America
A Short Film Low-Budget Subscription Video on Demand Program to be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is said to be in the making. Titled American Eid, the story of the film focuses on how moving to the US and starting from scratch affects a family, particularly the children of one Pakistani family, Ameena and Zara. The in the work Disney film on how Pakistani family spend Eid in America is to be directed by Aqsa Altaf.
Los Angeles based filmmaker Aqsa Altaf loves to capture moments that feel like they are stolen from everyday life with a cinematic edge. Being raised in Kuwait by Pakistani and Sri Lankan parents in a Muslim household, Aqsa is fascinated with telling stories that are diverse in nature and reflect on subject matters that are universal. She loves to dig for stories, characters, and circumstances that show the audience a part of the world and a side of humanity that usually doesn’t get much attention.
Aqsa graduated from USC School of Cinematic Arts. She was selected as one of the filmmakers to participate in the 2018 Werner Herzog Filmmaking Workshop in the Peruvian jungle where she made a film under Werner Herzog’s mentorship. Her short film ONE SMALL STEP has won many awards and played at the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival 2019. It was also shortlisted for BAFTA Student Film Awards. She was also selected to direct a short film for the emerging Muslim filmmaker fellowship by Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and Mike Mosallam Productions (MMP). She was recently nominated for the Young Director Award 2019 at Cannes Lions. She is currently developing her first TV and feature projects.
The story revolves around Ameena, Zara, Altaf, Jamila and Dadi Ami.
This is what we know about the characters so far:
AMEENA: Actor to play 7 years old, Pakistani, a girl with strong determination and a big heart. Ameena has recently immigrated to the USA from Pakistan. Ameena learns that her favorite holiday Eid is not recognized as a national holiday. Ameena circulates a petition in hopes of getting the day off to celebrate the important holiday for herself and her sister. Heartbroken, Ameena gives up and concludes that she may never celebrate Eid again. She is surprised the next day to discover that her parents have collaborated with her teacher to have a special Eid celebration in the classroom…LEAD (1) Actors that speak Urdu a plus.
ZARA: Actors to play13, Pakistani. Zara is Ameena’s big sister. Zara desperately wants to fit in at her new school in the United States – and doesn’t want to do anything to draw attention to herself. She wants to be called Z, practices speaking with an American accent and wears clothes that show her legs. When she learns that her sister is petitioning for them to get Eid holiday, she gets furious. Trying desperately to make new friends, Zara ignores the special friendship she has with her sister… Actors that speak Urdu a plus
ALTAF: Actor to play 40, Pakistani, a hardworking man and devoted father to Ameena and Zara. Even though he has to start from scratch in the USA Altaf is happy to give his daughters a life he wished he had growing up. He believes he is doing the right thing for his children but has to learn on how to handle the growing pains that come with big moves… Performers that speak Urdu a plus.
JAMILA: Actors to play 39, Pakistani. Jamila is Ameena and Zara’s mother. Jamila carries the demeanor of a strict mother with a soft spot for her children. She goes to evening classes while working full time. She misses home as much as Ameena does but stays strong for her children… Performers that speak Urdu a plus.
DADI AMI: Actors to play 70, Pakistani. Living in Pakistan, Dadi Ami is Ameena’s grandmother – and Ameena’s favorite person in the world. In a video call, she tries to console Ameena when Ameena complains about her first Eid in the United States. She offers her encouraging words…Performers that speak Urdu a plus.
This short film won’t be filmed until later this year.