Interview with Filmmaker Khalid Abdulqaadir (DISARMED)

DISARMED played to rave reviews at the March 2021 Dance & Music Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Michael Brown was my cousin and after he was killed by the police I began thinking of ways I could use my passion for filmmaking to impact my community and those who interact with my community in a positive way.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

The idea began germinating in 2017. We officially began in 2018 with planning. We contacted KCPD in 2019, and 35 meetings with PD over eight months led to us filming and releasing in 2020.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Extremely Brave

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Getting the two demographics (African Americans and Police) to work together.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I couldn’t believe how well they picked up on the intended messages. We instill our artistic meanings in hopes it resonates with viewers and these folks really got it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I was studying at the Beijing Cultural and Language Institute in China and during a school trip to the city of Dan Dong, the last Chinese city at the northern border of North Korea. The trains final destination was Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea but it didn’t occur to me that North Koreans were also on that train. While playing Pictionary with my classmates a random woman on the train called out the answer to what I was drawing for my team. The woman joined us for a couple hours playing Pictionary and talking about her life in North Korea. After a short while, she wished us a safe trip and returned to her sleeper car. Playing Pictionary with a North Korean showed me how powerful proximity can be when it comes to understanding. I then use that same approach of proximity to bring police together with the African American community, using a medium they both could find common interest in.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Ronin

8. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Soundtracks to every Final Fantasy video game made.

9. What is next for you? A new film?

This short film is part of a larger project, a superhero feature film. Simultaneously I’m in preproduction for a second feature to be filmed in Africa.

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