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Naeem Mahmood, the Director Committed to Making Daring and Provocative Films by Any Means Necessary

best UK film director Image Naeem Mahmood

Naeem Mahmood, the Director Committed to Making Daring and Provocative Films by Any Means Necessary London-born, filmmaking tornado Naeem Mahmood has crafted an eclectic filmography characterised by a vibrant display of visual storytelling, electric soundtracks and imagery that make you sweat with anxiety. Both in form and content, Mahmood has no interest in keeping within the boundaries of ‘acceptable cinema’, pushing the craft to embody something far more profound.

Creating his debut feature film in 2005 with Swimmer, Mahmood quickly established his love for the shocking spectacle, winning the Bronze Medal at the BRNO International Film Festival for his challenging film. A creative flurry of short films followed before his follow-up feature in 2015, with the genre-defying, urban crime drama Brash Young Turks.

Like his headstrong heroes, Mahmood has forged his own path through life, delivering arresting, original films bursting with character, energy and style. The award-winning Brash Young Turks gave a vibrant insight into the lives of underprivileged British youths, and displayed Mahmood’s unique brand of sensory fantasia. Scenes of young passion, crippling loneliness, and wild freedom are all representative of his vision and style.

But nothing can prepare us for his hypnotic, thought-provoking third feature, "Gods of Their Own Religion". It's a visionary portrait of a futuristic Britain, that allows Mahmood to show off his sumptuous visual talents.

best UK film director Image Naeem Mahmood

Working without a script and using improvisation, Mahmood has managed to create a deliberately paced, exquisitely crafted chiller exploring ideologies of control and personal freedom. The film pulsates with a swing-for-the-fences abandon that screams "take me or leave me" and manages to blur the boundaries of a number of genres. The inability to pigeonhole the movie makes it all the more special and distinctive and solidifies Mahmood's reputation for unquestioning individuality.

No Budget No Script No Permission, a raw and unflinching documentary look into the making of Gods of Their Own Religion, captures Mahmood's fearless, no-shits given attitude when faced with making a grandiose, dystopian sci-fi without a budget, script, or permits. It's an explosive moment for DIY filmmaking in Britain, pushing the boundaries of what ultra-low budget films can achieve.

Daring narratives, provoking audiences with stories of corporate rape, authoritarian oppression, racism and classism; it is evident that Mahmood is perfecting his craft as he continues to make films. He stands for a bold new wave of British filmmaking: cinematically confident, fearless, unbound by societal convention, compelled by disturbing and challenging subject matter. He's reinventing conventions, evolving recognisable forms of cinema into something unique and completely his own. That's what really excites us at Zems – that search for a new director with the ability to take British cinema on to the next stage.

Paul Chiedozie



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