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 |
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*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”