The Wheelchair & The Trap: Everything About Bilal...


You wanted to become a police officer but then you turned into filmmaking. How did this happen and when did you realize that you wanted to be a filmmaker?

Answer - Yes, I wanted to. But I have a rare genetic decease "AAA Syndrome" there are only fifty patients in the hole world (six in Canada, I am only one in Europe and the rest is in the USA). My muscles are not strong enough to let me walk for fifty yards. My system of producing "Hydrocortisone" is not operating normally and "Hydrocortisone" is responsible for information flow in our body. So, it is lifesaving requirement to have "Hydrocortisone" Therefor I am taking "Hydrocortisone" orally three times a day. My esophagus is blocked. When I eat the food, it goes slowly down due to gravity and not under the normal esophagus function. Because of these physical limitations I can't become a police officer, so I turned into writing books and filmmaking, including writing, directing, producing, editing and casting independent short film productions. Followings are the names of the films I produced, "Tycho Brahe" (2011), "Raptores" (2012), "Drug Life" (2015), "Jessica" (2017, "Esbjerg: Crime Family" (2018) & "The Wheelchair And The Trap" (2020) Next year I will be celebrating ten years of independent short filmmaking.


When did you make your first film and what was it like to work on your first film project?

The first film "Tycho Brahe" (2011) is produced with my media school "Glad Fagskole Esbjerg", which is a part of the television station "Tv-Glad Esbjerg" where I work as a reporter and camera man. It was a great experience, but I must say difficult as well because it was the first time. My teacher, mentor and friend Mikael Z. Wolff wrote the script and he died of tumor cancer few years back. So, the film is very special to me, because he made all the VFX as well. He was a great mentor and a friend. His colleague Claus Christensen my mentor and friend again helped as well with the production. I still have good contact with Claus. Here is the link for the film (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_N4q90e404) you can also find the film "Raptores" (2012) in the channel


What kind of films inspired you as a director?

Jackie Chan, Tony Scott, Ridly Scott, Martin Scorsese, Michael Bay, Thomas Vinterberg, Susanne Bier.

What genre of filmmaking are you trying to create in your work?

Crime-Drama, Crime-Fiction, Romantic-Dramas. I love and I create in my story with always with crime, drama and a love story because the three elements it's interesting for the audience to be on the edge of the seat. But Also, wen it's romance, it needs a god drama as well.


Please name three of your most favorite directors?

Tony Scott, Martin Scorsese and Jackie Chan.


What were some of the challenges of making an independent film for you?

Hard things are finding good actors, shooting outside in Denmark is very though, because when it's sunshine it suddenly rains or at night it isn't raining then it starts heavy. Because of that many times the film is delayed. Also, the hard thing is in my city Esbjerg, Denmark where I live not many films are produced. it is difficult to find camera men, light and boom operators. That's why I do everything myself. Like Jackie Chan, when he started his career, he did everything himself and still does, but I have seen many interviews with Jackie Chan where Mr. Jackie says "he is getting old he can't do fighting like he uses to so he would like to do movies like "La La Land". I can many times just imagine how would it be like for Jackie Chan in the time he started because the technology was not high and many other filmmaking stuffs like CGI.


What are some of the challenges of pursuing a career in the film industry?

Right now, I am an Independent Filmmaker, but I am making films so I can become a full-time writer and director in Hollywood and Bollywood. I would love to make films in Denmark and Pakistan (Lollywood) In fact, I have a short film story lined up in my head which I will again non-profitably produce myself soon in Pakistan. But it is hard to get into the film industry in Hollywood because of the big competition and anywhere else in the world. If you don't have a good filmmaking cv with great films and don't have talent, it is also difficult. I never think of money, I love making films because I love it, if you think of money then this is the wrong business to get into.


Do you recommend film schools or does making a film teach you more than film school?

Well this is a difficult question, because some people mean it is important, but I have not been to a film school. So I can't really say but I believe that making films yourself is better if you know what you're doing. It doesn't matter about big, medium or small cameras. If you have a great story and a camera, go and make it, send it to the festivals, show it your friends, family and your film network. I learned this on The Lift-Off Global Network workshop which I took online.

How challenging is it to distribute indie films and find an audience for short films?

I haven't distributed any films because the films i have made so far are sent to festivals and then put on my YouTube channel.

But I hope one day, I make a great Danish, Pakistani and Hollywood film which will be in the cinema and that day will be so great. Let's see what happens and here is the link to my YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/nypd2000300)


"The Wheelchair and the Trap' is your new short film in the festival circuit. What was the inspiration behind the making of this film and the themes involved?

I use a manual wheelchair when traveling on vacation because I can't work more the fifty yards. When at home I drive in my own car to work, friend's house and etc. I wanted to show, how difficult it is when a person sitting in it 24. hours a day seven days a week. If the person loves for example being a cop like in the film or love playing ice hockey, then it is hard for them to accept it and they are lonely as well. I have friends who sit in the wheelchair every day and like me who can't go more than fifty yards I would love to be an ice hockey player and play for the Tronto Maple Leaf's. But I'll be a hockey player in a film one day, I have done acting as well in three short films. "Tycho Brahe" (2011), "Stoppestedet" (2016), "035" (2019)


How can cinema improve the world and make it a better place?

I think because of the CGI technology everyone is making too many CGI films like Marvels and unrealistic VFX action. Also, all the streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO and others have overtaken which is sad. Because they are killing the beauty of a good cinema mood and experience. For instants The Irishman (2020) didn't came in the cinema in Denmark, I wanted to see It because of a good cinema night with my dad. We always see films together but we saw it on Netflix and many other movies before the lockdown of the pandemic (covid-19). I believe if all these things weren't here then the cinema would still be a popular place.


Why do you make films?

I love telling and writing stories which are on my mind and I will never stop.

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© Toronto Film Mag I 2020