parvez sharma brief biography

noun | bi·og·ra·phy | bī-ˈä-grə-fē also bē- \
| an account of the life of something (such as an animal, a coin, or a building) |    

| first known use: 1665 |

                          Bolex Camera

*pardon our appearance but we are still under construction

*Bio read time (ends = Parvez+Obama pic) = 3.38 minutes!

* important‼️ this is a “kind of not complete” bio. If you seriously want to work with Parvez or hire him please click the buttons to get the nuts and bolts

2018 Guggenheim fellow, filmmaker, author Parvez Sharma grew up in a small town in northern India, just twenty minutes from the Islamic seminary that gave birth to the Taliban, while enrolled at a Catholic school called St. Mary’s Academy. Sanskrit was a third language and P.E. was Yoga. He excelled at neither. Adding to this unusual childhood was an early realization that he absorbed the world in images, aspect ratios and stories. Sanskrit was a third language and PE was Yoga. He excelled at neither. By 12 he has (inappropriately perhaps) speed-read his mother’s copy of “Gone with the Wind” and even gotten his hands on Christopher Isherwood’s, “Berlin Diaries”! By 13 he was precociously photographing “everything” with a pretty basic Vivitar camera his American cousins had gifted him. His fate was thus sealed; a life behind the camera and also a wordsmith.

rare “production stills”; for the two two films mentioned below  parvez had to unlearn a lot; including having a crew

In a filmography spanning four continents two of his best-known films (during the decade he has lived in America) are the multiple award winning “A Jihad For Love”and A Sinner in Mecca, playing at TIFF, Berlinale, IDFA and more than a hundred other film festivals globally; available on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, broadcast on 33 television channels in as many nations and also theatrical releases. The worldwide press and controversy these two films generated were unprecedented and Jihad has been seen by approximately 8 million people. Parvez has always made fearless, multiple award-winning films about politics, faith, race, identity, religious extremism and social justice and taken them (on speaking tours and town halls) to the corridors of Congress, the DHS and DOS, the UN and the EU parliament, high-schools, all the ivy’s and even the Dar ul Uloom uber Islamic seminary in India. He lives the reality that cinema can create (real) change. But unlike many “activist” filmmakers he does not think they can easily change an increasingly perilous planet. But yes, one film is equal to a hundred conferences, power-point presentations and all the money non-profits waste on things that cinema can solve better and faster!

Parvez’s career has been one of many firsts. Jihad was the world’s first film on homosexuality and Islam and Sinner the world’s first documentary filmed on an iPhone in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, under threat of beheading.Parvez’s multiple award winning creations of what he calls Cinema 3.0 continue to ruffle feathers. From being a NYT Critics’ Pick to being hailed as a “gifted filmmaker” by the Wall Street Journal, an “iconoclast” by Vice, “an extremely polite spy” by the NY Times and “carrying out an attack on Islam” by Ayatollah Khamenei’s regime in Iran, His recently released book (a thoughtful and factual examination of the deep links between Saudi Arabia’s Islam and ISIS) has received much attention; A Sinner in Mecca, A Gay Muslims Hajj of Defiance”, says the Guardian is written “with a deep knowledge of Islamic history and with courage and fierce emotion.” Over the years Parvez has survived hate mail, death threats, trolling, fatwa’s calling for his death, awards and honors, good and bad reviews and more. Jihad, Sinner and his book complete his “Islam Trilogy”. Parvez was named one of “50 visionaries changing the world” in a list headed by the Dalai Lama. In his view each film he makes is a building block (with newer lessons) in a diverse and celebrated body of work he hopes to leave as legacy. With two new, game-changing films, mandated by his brand-new Guggenheim fellowship; he is finally out of rehab for his Game Of Thrones addiction and back to where he belongs: behind the camera. In the past, Parvez wore many hats including a journalist plus blogger on Kashmir (1998), Egypt (2011) and Tehran (2009) with India’s NDTV, the BBC, Democracy Now! Huffington Post and the Daily Beast. Grants and awards include the Andy Warhol Foundation, Sundance, Ford and about 28 more. At universities he has taught on subjects like Bollywood anthropology, the social web and middle-eastern studies. He works best in situations of peril where he can create and “find” cinema. Many have called his work,“guerrilla filmmaking” Former first lady Michelle Obama, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, GLAAD and many more have hailed Parvez’s work as “heroic” “exemplary” and “path-breaking” In July, 2013 Jihad was named one of the “25 most influential films on religion in the 20th century” Parvez believes “you are only as good as your next film”

* If you want to hire this guggenheim fellow for directing, shooting, speaking and most things in between (e.g. true/deep knowledge of how and why Islam got here); email STAT and download the (6.83 minutes read) doc below = its important!

 Please Download

 🎬  🎦 we tried to sneak production photos (when Parvez was not filming alone, underground; but lives were at stake; serious stuff. No govt. permission was ever sought or given! Parvez smuggled all the tapes in his check-in baggage, with a prayer. Strangely, it was U.S. border officials who would  question him for hours; he had no rights = he did not even have a green card!

The prestigious UCLA Film and TV archive now stores Parvez’s (raw) footage from both Jihad (Mini DV’s) and Sinner (SD cards; iPhone QT’s) for posterity. The material was recognized as having “historic import” Most filmmakers do not get invited for this privilege.

our small bottom line > ❤ < Parvez was the first person on the planet to put the words Jihad and Love in the same phrase; globally, again he is the first to shoot a film on an iPhone in Mecca, Saudi Arabia (under certain threat of beheading if found out) thus revealing a world forbidden to 6 billion non-muslims for 14 centuries; a world most of humanity had never been allowed to see. And he has forever exposed the deep links between the Saudi monarchy and Daesh (ISIS)

 > ❤ < during Jihad if other people were even (rarely) present, we would sneak photos; we dared to sometimes think we would make a difference/ even history; 400+ cinema hours in 9 languages and 12 nations

I have always tried to make things happen, before others have even thunk them!!

I learnt alone to shoot guerrilla style, while hidden in theocracies/dictatorships; no govt. permission ever granted for 6 years of filming in 12 nations; I did not dare to ask; I stared death in its face. The stakes got way higher with A Sinner in Mecca.

Below though, a completely different animal, a happier one; explained on our home, bio shutterbug and instagram pages

Calling him a “renaissance man”, the Village Voice (and with different verbiage, Esquire magazine) had said > ❤ <Sharma’s photographs are magnificent. The ones of and in his (now) hometown NYC are mesmerizing, but he claims he is not seeking photography as a vocation”

*for Parvez this is a post social web and AR world; and thus images are important like never before

*At 13, getting a (Sears bought!) Vivitar from his American cousins, sealed his fate

since 13 he never stopped shutter bugging; these are = his (seen its day’s) DSLR and iPhone photos.

media outlets have called his photo-work, “impressive” but he remains a “casual” photographer

our islam trilogy impacted hundreds of thousands of lives and thus gratitude > ❤ < humility

photos, design, content. Haram Films 2018-
A Jihad for Love
A Sinner in Mecca (Movie)
A Sinner in Mecca (Book)