I met Marc Charleston when shooting the short film “The Renewal” with my good friend Sarah Kazadi. J Alex Cowell, the actor in the film, had brought Marc along to the shoot. We were all kindred spirits and got along real well. We shared similar ideas about art – and staying true to it. Not selling out. Not giving up on our vision.
Marc left his family in Florida and booked a one way ticket to New York to make it here as a graphic artist. He stayed in a friend’s couch for a month and then ended up in a basement in Brooklyn. The struggle I saw him going through really inspired me. And so one weekend when he was house sitting for a family friend in Connecticut, I decided to go spend some time with him and document this important phase of his life. “I Am” was the result. There was no planning involved. No script. No concrete idea. I literally drove to connecticut in the middle of the night and then we decided to shoot and make a whole short film within 2 days.
It was a such an organic process. And although some people complain about the lengthy monologue at the end – I feel like it stays true to what we were trying to accomplish.
Marc created the poster.
Here is the short film I shot with Sarah:
I’m so thankful to all the inspiring people I’ve been meeting along the way in my creative journey. I’m learning that nothing is impossible and that it’s all about having the ability to dream. If you can think it, you can make it happen. I think my goal in life is to nurture this ability to dream and inspire others to think as big as possible.
Nabil Rahman on the set of “The Renewal” with Sarah Kazadi.
Photo by J Alex Cowell
I am the web/video producer for a new exciting show for and about New York’s diaspora community. Here are a few videos and bios of featured guests.
Members of the Diaspora/ April 20th
Roohi Choudhry is a writer who has lived on almost every continent. She was born in Pakistan, grew up in Durban, South Africa, and came to New York via Texas. Choudhry’s writing has appeared in literary journals and won both the Hopwood and Newman awards. She currently lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Jose Antonio Vargas is a journalist and immigration reform advocate. In 2011 he revealed his undocumented status in the New York Times, and that same year he started Define American, an organization dedicated to fostering conversation about current immigration issues. He has worked for the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Huffington Post, and is a Pulitzer prize winner. He lives in Manhattan.
Diego Obregon is a Colombian born musician from the Southwestern town of Guapí. Obregon specializes in the Marimba instrument, which he not only plays like a master, but also builds himself out of the trunk of palm trees. Nine years ago he came to New York to share his beloved Marimba de Chonta music. He currently lives in Queens.
Anna Halberstadt is a social worker and psychologist who has worked with immigrant populations in New York City for over 25 years. Born in Lithuania, Halberstadt earned her Master’s in Psychology from Moscow State University before moving to New York. Halberstadt is also a poet, and her work touches on themes of immigration, displacement, and identity. Halberstadt lives in the East Village of Manhattan
Isaac Katalay is a Congolese musician originally from Kinshasa. He’s spent more than half of his 32 years in New York, exploring music and culture. He leads the Life Long Project band and is the founder of several related organizations that promote socially conscious artists and entrepreneurs. Katalay lives in Harlem.
Saba Hocek was born in Turkey and currently lives on the Upper East Side. She and her mother practice the Turkish tradition of reading futures in coffee grounds. Hocek read her first coffee cup at a Ray’s Pizza in Tehran, Iran, when she was only 16. She’s been reading cups ever since. Hocek lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Photographer Annie Ling is a Canadian citizen, born in Taipei, Taiwan. Ling’s work has appeared in New York Magazine, The New York Times Lensblog, FADER Magazine, and Germany’s GEO Magazine. Her work has been exhibited internationally in Europe, Southeast Asia, and North America. Ling’s project 81 Bowery documents the life and recent eviction of one of New York’s oldest Chinese tenements. She lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
For tickets: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6105623083#
For more information: http://www.whereimfromshow.com/