Earlier this month the Out on Film Festival in Midtown featured film works from members of the LGBT community, including filmmaker Badar's short film Last Lesson. Badar illuminates discrimination through a story inspired by true narratives shared by members of the queer community. More can be learned about being a SCAD Film graduate in Atlanta, and the process of creating and screening a film through our interview with Badar.
Tell us about your film.
Badar: Last Lesson tells the story of a woman who fires her son’s piano instructor after finding out she is a lesbian. When her attempt at reasoning to keep working fails, the teacher confronts the mother about her own ignorance and hypocrisy. At its core, Last Lesson is a reflection on society and how the power of influence can affect us in our lives.
How did it feel to premiere at Out On Film Festival?
Badar: The cast and crew worked hard to get this film made. Attending the premiere at Out On Film Festival to showcase our work to an audience was a dream come true. I had been following this festival for several years and was thrilled to be a part of it. I received positive feedback from the audience. Many expressed to me how much they enjoyed it. Last Lesson is a serious drama, but there are moments in the film that are comical and surprise you. Hearing the audience burst out in laughter was a good feeling.
What was the inspiration and goal of your film?
Badar: My inspiration for Last Lesson came from the news events of 2015, when I wrote the script. The news was reporting many cases of businesses turning away gay/lesbian customers. I would see news articles on social media of LGBT people sharing experiences of either getting fired from a job, or victims of humiliation, simply for their orientation. It was disheartening to see people behave this way towards one another. In the end, I wanted to reflect on these stories by creating a film which shows how similar events might unravel if they were to play out in front of us. When I set out to make this film, there were two goals. I wanted to show people what it looks like and how it feels for someone to be told they are not wanted or needed because of their sexual orientation, even though they are a good worker. My other objective was to showcase my talents as a storyteller and production skills. Besides writing and directing, I also did art direction for the film.
Do you have any advice for filmmakers who want to screen at festivals?
Badar: My advice would be first to watch as many short films as you can. Know what you want to say with your story/script. Know your message. There are so many independent filmmakers out there and all are submitting to festivals. You certainly want to make yourself stand out and have a story that hasn’t been told before. Keeping the film at 10 minutes or less will work to your advantage. The film festivals want to screen as many films as they can. If your film is too long, it may hurt your chances of getting accepted.
How is life in Atlanta for a SCAD Film graduate?
Badar: Naturally, every SCAD film graduate will have a different experience depending on the path they want to take and what his/her goal is ultimately. It’s no secret the film industry is growing each year here in Atlanta, allowing some the luxury of job opportunities and gaining experience here rather than moving to Los Angeles. But then there are also those that are struggling to get their foot in the door. In those circumstances, one must continue to network, be open to helping on local independent productions, and be persistent in applying for the job in your career path. An opportunity may unexpectedly arrive which was not foreseen. My philosophy has always been to take opportunities that come my way and allow myself to explore all avenues which become available.
Information and photos on the films screen at this years Out on Film Festival can be found at the following link: