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In Search Of Sama | Experimental documentary, 2018

Sama explores the music and ecstatic devotional practice of Sufism in Pakistan, a mystical and progressive form of Islam that emphasizes pacifism, intuition, creativity and a personal connection to the divine. A hybrid nonfiction feature that alternates between traditional documentary interview techniques, ethnographic documentation of ceremony and song central to Sufi religious practice, and poetic depictions of mythological tales, Sama follows multiple devotees through their everyday lives, spiritual encounters, and intimate personal journeys. Voyaging with these disciples through an increasingly volatile atmosphere of radical Islamic fundamentalism, Sama offers a unique glimpse into a marginalized community through the eyes of its most vulnerable members.

An exploration of my personal relationship to Islamic practice will be woven into this documentation throughout. I will trace my transition from the orthodox Wahabi Sunni background in which I was raised towards my growing interest in Sufism as a metaphorical site of resistance and counternarrative to fundamentalist doctrines. Continuing my study of Sufism in LA, I will participate in ceremonies at the shrines to have a direct experience of ritual devotion.