Ibrahim’s Review of 2015

Here we go again. Another annual review. My seventh actually. A great opportunity to reflect on a rollercoaster twelve months. As rollercoaster rides come, this has been quite a thrilling one. Sometimes a thriller doesn’t quite go the way you want it to. We’ve all seen a crazy game of football littered with goals – some may recall Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Newcastle United in 1996. Pundits and commentators argue that was the greatest match the Premier League has ever seen. Almost twenty years…

Look at me, harking on about the past. History can be interesting though. Ask my mother, she’ll tell you. Anyway, let’s get this show on the road as I share some of my highlights of 2015 with you…

Ibrahim reads an excerpt from his mother's novel Lascar at the Bishopsgate Library in London
Ibrahim reads an excerpt from his mother’s novel ‘Lascar’ at the Bishopsgate Institute, London

In January, my mother and I were invited to speak at the Everyday Muslim Symposium, held at the Bishopsgate Institute in London. It was a wonderful event to be part of and I really enjoyed the occasion, despite my reading skills being closely scrutinised by an attentive audience – and captured on camera! Many thanks to Sadiya Ahmed and Halima Khanom for giving me the opportunity to participate. You can watch my mother’s talk and my reading right here:


In February, I joined the team of presenters for a sports show on Cambridge 105, a local radio station based in Cambridge. Since August, I have been the lead presenter and producer of the new series. The show has covered local, national and global sport, and is aired every Saturday afternoon. This year, I interviewed a range of guests including Aziz Rahman and Shahin Miah of Cambridge Sporting Football Club, as well as the nation’s youngest restaurant/takeaway owner Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed – a former contestant on the popular BBC TV series The Apprentice.

Ibrahim interviewed Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed on Cambridge 105 Sport
Ibrahim interviewed Safwaan Choudhury and Nurun Ahmed on Cambridge 105 Sport

You can listen to all the interviews on my brand-new Soundcloud page! I have really enjoyed hosting the show this year. Many thanks to my fellow team members Jack Swindlehurst, Jack LangleyTim Ebanks and Sam Tunbridge for all your help and support. Special thanks to Tim Willett, the station manager, for giving me the opportunity to be involved. It has been a pleasure to be part of Cambridge 105 and I hope the station continues to go from strength to strength.


Shaful Islam, Bobby Friction and Ibrahim Rahman
With quiz team-mate Shaful Islam (left) and BBC Asian Network presenter Bobby Friction (centre)

2015 also witnessed a memorable ICC Cricket World Cup, particularly for Bangladesh who reached the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time. Unfortunately for England it was a tournament to forget, as they failed to qualify from their group.

In March, I ventured to the West Midlands to appear on a live BBC Asian Network show. I was on the Bobby Friction show and represented Team Bangladesh in a cricket quiz! It was great fun and we did pretty well – scoring 9/10! Many thanks to the production team and Bobby for having me. Shaf Islam was a top team-mate as well! You can listen to our performance (and all the banter) through the audio clip below:


Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for the 2015 Limelight Film Awards
Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for the 2015 Limelight Film Awards

It was a great year for Ramadan Roundup, as the latest episode of the series was nominated for a national film award. I attended this year’s Limelight Film Awards in June. Unfortunately, Ramadan Roundup 4 didn’t win the award but it was very humbling to have been shortlisted. News of the nomination was covered on local radio station Cambridge 105, newspapers East London News, London Bangla and Cambridge News, and on television through Islam Channel. You can watch our Ramadan Roundup interview with Raza Amode and myself right here:

Once again, a massive thank you to everyone for your support and to those who have contributed to the series. Unfortunately my plans for producing Ramadan Roundup 5 this year did not go ahead as I had hoped. Having said that, the episode is still in pre-production and I hope to continue working on it next year. God willing.

On the other hand, I can confirm that I have just started to film Ramadan Roundup 4.5, a mini-episode that is linked to Ramadan Roundup 4 but leads on to Ramadan Roundup 5. More news to come very soon, but do keep your eyes peeled on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for more updates! The adventure continues…

Ramadan Roundup 4.5 is in production...
Ramadan Roundup 4.5 is in production…

Ibrahim was a contributor to the BBC's Ramadan in a Day project
Ibrahim was a contributor to the BBC’s Ramadan in a Day project

In July, I was one of the contributors for the Ramadan in a Day project, a BBC Taster experiment delivered in partnership with BBC Asian Network. The project set out to capture a day of life during Ramadan, giving people the chance to tell their own stories through social media. I appeared in a series of videos that you can still watch on the BBC Asian Network YouTube channel. Check out one of the clips right here:


Ibrahim at the Asian Media Awards 2015
Ibrahim at the Asian Media Awards 2015

In September, I was shortlisted as a finalist in the Regional Journalist of the Year category at the Asian Media Awards 2015. I attended the official shortlist announcement at the ITV Studios in London, before making the very long trip to the Hilton Manchester Deansgate for the main showpiece in October. Unfortunately I missed out on the award, but I was really humbled to have been chosen as a finalist under a brand-new category at this year’s awards. It was a fantastic occasion.

Ibrahim's Profile - page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure
Ibrahim’s profile was listed in the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure

And there you have it. My biggest moments in 2015 in a nutshell. Now, I’m going to sit in front of my clock and stare at it until it strikes twelve. Analogue or digital you ask? Don’t bother asking, that’s a very boring thing to do. Also time-consuming. Go ahead and laugh, you know that was funny…

As 2015 draws to a close, I shall leave you with this quote:

“The more difficult it is to reach your destination, the more you will remember and appreciate the journey.”

This year has been thrilling and memorable. A massive thank you to all of you for your support and kindness. I wrote in my last annual review hoping this year would be a great year for you all, and I really hope it has been.

Thank you for following my adventures this year. Let’s see what happens in 2016. Let the journey continue.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The Rise of Ramadan Roundup 4

Greetings! No, this isn’t the title of my latest film. Sounds bold and epic though right? The Rise of Ramadan Roundup 4. Dare you to say that in a serious American voice. You know, the voice you hear in movie trailers. Yes, you know it. That’s it, treat yourself to a doughnut. Unless you are fasting of course, then eat it later. Mmm, doughnuts. Aaaaargh…

Since last month, I have been so busy! It’s Ramadan now and I’m still busy! But I have to say, since the day I found out Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for this year’s Limelight Film Awards to the day of the actual event itself, it has been a wonderful and memorable experience. Long story short, Ramadan Roundup 4 didn’t win an award, but I am really honoured and humbled that my short film was nominated for a national film award. I know I’ve probably used these words quite often, but let’s wind the clock back and review the past month. So where did it all start? Here’s a brief summary…

13 May 2015
I received an email confirming that Ramadan Roundup 4 had been shortlisted under the Freefall category at the Limelight Film Awards 2015.

19 May 2015
The Cambridge Mosque Project website published a news article on Ramadan Roundup 4‘s award nomination.

20 May 2015
The East London News published a news article about the award nomination plus a short biography on me. Huge thanks to Emdad Rahman for his well-written piece.

22 May 2015
Emdad Rahman
‘s article was also published in page 29 of the London Bangla newspaper.

London Bangla
London Bangla – 22 May 2015 (page 29)

26 May 2015
I was at Cambridge 105 for a live radio interview with Julian Clover on 105 Drive. We talked about Ramadan Roundup 4‘s award nomination.

30 May 2015
A news article of the award nomination was published in page 6 of the Cambridge News.

Cambridge News
Cambridge News – 30 May 2015 (page 6)

02 June 2015
I was at Islam Channel (Sky 806) to make a live TV guest appearance on Living the Life, a contemporary lifestyle talk show. I talked about the Ramadan Roundup series and I was joined by fellow cast member Raza Amode. It was a pleasure to be part of an awesome group of guests that day. We even met nasheed artist Zain Bhikha!

Ibrahim Rahman (far-right) and Raza Amode (second from right) on Islam Channel's Living the Life
Ibrahim Rahman (far-right) and Raza Amode (second from right) on Islam Channel’s Living the Life

14 June 2015
I was at Cambridge 105 for another live radio interview with Phil Rowe on the Sunday Breakfast show. We talked about the Ramadan Roundup series and the award nomination of Ramadan Roundup 4.

15 June 2015
The day of the awards ceremony. The finalists in the Freefall category alongside Ramadan Roundup 4 were Ahmed & MildredHoodforts Chicken and Revelations. The winning entry was Hoodforts Chicken, directed by the Mile End Community Project. Congratulations to them on winning the award!

Four years ago, the Ramadan Roundup journey began and I never imagined it would develop into a series, so it was truly humbling to have been a finalist for a national film award.

I want to thank you all for your amazing support. It really means a lot. Special thanks to my mother Shahida Rahman, Raza Amode, Tim Ebanks, Halima Khanom and Sam Tunbridge for all coming along and being such awesome guests. Massive thanks to everyone who have contributed to the Ramadan Roundup series, your time and efforts have been greatly appreciated. Thank you also to Munsur Ali and the Limelight Film Awards team for nominating Ramadan Roundup 4, and for hosting a great event!

Some of the Ramadan Roundup 4 gang - Nadia Ali (left), Ibrahim Rahman (centre) and Raza Amode (right)
Some of the Ramadan Roundup 4 gang – Nadia Ali (left), Ibrahim Rahman (centre) and Raza Amode (right)

And so the adventure continues! I can confirm Ramadan Roundup 5 is in pre-production and I expect this to be released later this summer. God willing.

In the meantime, check out Ibrahim’s Ramadan Diary on the Ramadan Roundup Facebook and Instagram pages. I have been posting something new everyday and I hope to keep this going until the end of Ramadan.

Until next time…

The Nomination

Greetings! I have some great news to share with you all…

Last Wednesday, I received an email confirming that my short film, Ramadan Roundup 4, has been nominated for the Limelight Film Awards 2015! It has been shortlisted alongside three other entries under the Freefall category.

The Limelight Film Awards is an annual short film competition. It is a red carpet awards ceremony, attended by over 500 filmmakers, celebrities and media personalities. Running since 2008, with a £10,000 production award, Limelight is paving the way in identifying emerging filmmakers while helping to strengthen the industry.

The event will take place on Monday 15th June 2015 at Troxy, East London.

I am thrilled that Ramadan Roundup 4 has been nominated for an award! You could say I am feeling a bit like this…

Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God)! MASSIVE thanks to everyone involved in the production of Ramadan Roundup 4, this wouldn’t have been possible without you all…

Top row: Nadia Ali, Raza Amode, Moghees Darr
Middle row: Amira Haque, Ibrahim Rahman, Ayat Rasool
Bottom row: Aminah Rahman, Ubaid Sajid, Uzma Chaudhry

The RR4 Cast
The cast of Ramadan Roundup 4

Next month should be exciting! More news will be on the way…

The American Sharia Experience

Wednesday 11th February 2015. I was at the Hackney Empire in London to attend the UK premiere of American Sharia, a Muslim comedy film by director, writer, comedian and actor Omar Regan. Talk about being multi-talented!

I arrived early and was one of the first people in the queue by the front door. As time passed, the line grew larger and larger and I could feel genuine excitement. This was my first appearance at any kind of premiere, so it was quite a unique experience and certainly a memorable one. British Muslim TV suddenly emerged, equipped with their broadcast cameras and reporters holding microphones as they approached members of the lively crowd. They asked me to pull a silly face for their cameras… not sure how that one turned out?

One of the photographers assigned me the honorable, prestigious but temporary title of… poster boy. It was fun while it lasted, for an amazing eleven seconds or something like that. Look at the sheer enjoyment on my face as I hold a colourful sheet of paper for the cameras.

Poster Boy
Poster boy

After waiting patiently outside for about an hour, the doors finally opened and everyone slowly filtered through and into the theatre. The event kicked off with beautiful recitation from the Qur’an, followed by some hilarious standup comedy from Omar Regan and and a passionate fundraising appeal led by Ajmal Masroor. Once the fundraising had finished, the film was shown at 8:30pm, almost two hours later than the time stated on my ticket!

American Sharia finished at 10:00pm and then we had the opportunity to throw questions at key members of the cast, as well as the film’s producer Couni Young, for about half an hour. By 10:30pm, the event was drawn to a close and before heading back home to Cambridge, I took photos with Omar Regan and Baba Ali!

Ibrahim Rahman and Omar Regan
Ibrahim Rahman and Omar Regan

 

Baba Ali and Ibrahim Rahman
Baba Ali and Ibrahim Rahman

I also had a nice chat with Couni Young about the film, who appeared to express willingness and interest in helping to produce more features in this industry.

Overall, I left with mixed emotions. I was disappointed and frustrated with certain aspects of the event. The time management was so poor and this is a recurring theme in so many events I go to, especially Asian weddings and other fundraising dinners. I was expecting to leave at 9:00pm, hoping the event would finish by then but I didn’t get home until 12:30am! Having seen young children queuing up outside with their families from 5:30pm and then for the film to finish at 10:00pm, this showed the event organisers’ incompetence and lack of consideration towards youngsters who had school the next day and would probably sleep early. There were many people who had work in the morning – myself included. Travelling to and from the venue was not exactly straightforward, hence why I tried to allocate more than enough time to my journey so I could be punctual.

Penny Appeal, the charity organisation who are coordinating the UK tour and presenting the movie, emailed me plenty of reminders to arrive early. Here are examples of what they said. The first one is their email subject.

“YOUR American Sharia showing: Don’t forget to arrive early!”

“LONDON, DON’T FORGET TO ARRIVE EARLY!”

“Make sure to turn up on time at 5.30pm – you won’t get in once we’ve started!”

“Make sure to arrive on time. If you arrive after 6.30pm you will not be allowed in”

“DOORS CLOSE 6:30PM PROMPT”

As you can see, different times were stated in the two emails I received – 5:30pm and 6:30pm. There was no time stated in any of the emails for when the film would start, except for the ticket I received on the day which said 6:45pm. I expected the film to start at this time. The emails did not specify a time for when the fundraising would take place and how long this would take. With the screening of the film being delayed even further and the audience having no idea of when it would be shown, this led to members of the crowd becoming increasingly agitated and disgruntled. Of course, I will always support fundraising for good causes and I am sure many people would do the same, but this should be appropriately planned and carried out in an effective manner. Set a time and stick to it. Some people sitting in front of me were clearly unhappy and left during the film, affecting my view in the process.

This is the first time I have published a critical response to an event I have attended, but I really feel it is necessary that people are aware of this because it is simply unacceptable. Timekeeping is a serious problem and is something that has to be addressed, especially within Asian communities. It is seriously damaging and leads to a breakdown in trust, which becomes increasingly difficult to claim back if these habits continue to persist.

So what did I get for arriving early? Leaving late. All in all, an entertaining but frustrating evening.

Ramadan Roundup 3: Promotional Posters

Movie posters. That’s right. Look below.

Yes, I know, I should have released them on here BEFORE the release date. Well, I did do that on Facebook and Twitter…

Anyway, this is the first time I’ve made something like this. I had a poster template from a few months back when I helped Aniq (my brother) with his homework. There’s a little bit of history for you…

“Ramadan Roundup 3” is out now on YouTube, so go and check it out if you haven’t already done so!

Movie Poster

MoviePoster-07August2013

Ibrahim’s Review of 2010

2010. It has been a great year! I’ve had a great time at university. The first year went really well. The second year has been good so far, but it’s been a lot of hard work. I spent so many late nights working up until four in the morning, just so I could get all of my assignments handed in on time!

Thankfully, I did get everything handed in on time and right now, I’m just enjoying my winter break. AND I’m suffering from teenage withdrawal symptoms. Yes, I’m a man now. Turned 20 over a week ago. Playtime is over. Having said that, I have been playing Football Manager 2011 recently. Very good game. Got it last month as a present. Currently managing Liverpool, who else? Into the second half of my first season in charge of the Reds, and I’m fourth in the league. Hopefully, I’ll actually win some silverware! You can follow my progress by watching the highlights that I have uploaded on YouTube, go to my YouTube channel and check them out!

In the first half of the year, I was very busy with movie making. In January, I fulfilled my promise of purchasing a HD camcorder, which I am still using today. The year started off in style when I created the film Virus. People were left reflecting upon what would happen next when I ended the first episode on a cliffhanger. However, the next episode concluded the story, which received positive reviews from my family and friends.

The success of Virus resulted in my friend Maggie Calabressi asking me to help film her Optometry presentation. For this project, I used my HD camcorder for the first time, and it did a great job! The presentation was also a success too, and once again I’d like to thank Maggie, Indu Jose, Priya Katira and Kimberley Wan for giving me the opportunity to make this film. Sadly, Maggie has moved to a new university now, meaning I don’t get to see her that much anymore! I hope she is having a great time and I wish her all the best for the future.

In May, I created my first ever computer animation film called Escape, a machinima film made largely by myself, with the welcomed contributions of my friends Omar Lodhi and Mohammad Dinul Haque. This was part of our coursework for one of our modules at university, but this still proved to be an entertaining spectacle!

Two months later, I went to London to attend a five-day course at the London Academy of Media, Film and TV. It was a fantastic experience and a lot of fun! I created the fictional documentary Heatwave: London, which was also a hit with my friends. I have considered doing another course there next year, so we’ll see what happens! Another excuse to visit London I guess, I love the place!

After the summer came to a close, I’ve been studying since! I haven’t had time to make any new films recently, but I’m hoping I will get more opportunities next year. It’s been a fantastic year though, and hopefully 2011 will be even better. Another year later, and it’ll be the London 2012 Olympics! Surely there’s got to be a chance to film something then! Yes, that’s two years away. Well, I’m sure something will pop up next year!

Anyway, I hope you had a great year, just like I did and hopefully we’ll have many more great years to come!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Heatwave: London

A couple of days ago, I received my film in the post! Thank you Catalin! Now the film was in my hands, I just had to add the finishing touches to it. It has become customary for me to add closing credits to each video that I make and this was no exception. I’m really happy with the end product and I can be confident knowing that I was helped by an experienced filmmaker and editor to create this short film.

Anyway, without further ado, here it is folks! Enjoy!

Please note: This video was filmed in HD, so make sure you watch it in 720p!

London Academy of Media, Film and TV – Day Five

Day Five – the final day of the course. So far, everything was running very smoothly. This was the day that my film would be finished!

I had to make sure everything was in place before the film was exported to a file that could be played back on any machine. In the end, it all worked out fine but I’m still waiting for my copy to come through the post! The size of the video was 9.6 GB and I had problems trying to transfer the file to my portable hard disk. This was because the file system of my hard disk was FAT32 and it needed to be NTFS to allow the video to be transferred successfully.

Once I’ve got my copy of the video, I will be adding in the closing credits and then I will upload it onto YouTube/Facebook for you all to see. Yes, this will be my next film! I’ll have you know that this is something totally different to anything I have made before!

I have titled the film: “Heatwave: London”. No more clues I’m afraid. Just wait for a little while, it will be out soon!

Anyway, that’s what happened in 5 days. I really enjoyed the course and I certainly learned a lot! I’d like to give special thanks to Mike Raycroft, Catalin Brylla, Santiago Perez Viso and Laura Hills. It was great working with you all, and thanks for the fantastic experience!

London Academy of Media, Film and TV – Day Four

And here we go again… the same old journey to London. No change there.

Today was the second day of the editing phase. I was happy with the video footage I wanted to use, but my tutor recommended that I add some images to the film. This was because the original footage that I had captured on the day of shooting wasn’t really enough, so I basically did a search on Google for some high-resolution images that I thought were relevant to the video and then I imported the images into Avid.

Once the footage was ready, I needed to look at music. The London Academy had many CDs with lots of different types of genres. After I found what I was looking for, I imported the desired track into Avid.

That was Day Four in a nutshell. Not a lot really going on. Bring on Day Five!

London Academy of Media, Film and TV – Day Three

Another routine train journey to London’s King’s Cross and yet another intense session on the Tube. A typical story of a Cambridge commuter, well for me anyway. Actually, I’ve only done this twice… on my own…

This was the first of three days I would spend editing all the video footage that was captured yesterday. Don’t think I mentioned this in my earlier blog posts, but the video footage was in HDV format.

I learnt how to use Avid Media Composer for the first time and I have to say, it’s not too bad. Of course, I learnt how to do the basics at first, such as importing the footage, trimming the clips, etc. I had to force myself to make a “rough cut” version of the video, can’t say I’m used to doing something like that, but there was an important reason for doing it. That was it really, I just started the editing process. Tomorrow, I should get to include music and also begin to fine cut the video clips. We’ll see what happens I guess.

Thought I would also add this in too, apart from doing this course, I’ve also had the opportunity to go waltzing around London. I have visited Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Regent’s Park so far. I hope to go to Trafalgar Square again, last time I went there was September 2009, so that would be great to revisit as it isn’t very far away from where I am based, which is in Euston.

Day Three over. Bring on Day Four.