From Fajr to Isha,the Muslim call to prayer marks five intimate moments between two women on a first, romantic night together.
Five Times A Day is a short film showing the connection between two Muslim women on a first night together, told at five different times, each marked by the Muslim call to prayer. Combining the writer, Fawzia Mirza’s current connection between identity, religion, love, sex, romance, and pleasure, this film will feel like a memory, blending sound as poetry, light as storytelling. Through this intra-Muslim relationship and struggle, the film will show the beauty and universality of love and connection.
This passion project will shoot on location in Los Angeles over two days, Spring of 2019, with a small team of all women, trans & gender non-conforming, badass, queer and/or women of color filmmakers.
The process of making Five Times A Day will be equally as important as the film itself. In telling this story we will deconstruct the boundaries between reality, memory, and dreamscape. To do this, Director Tchaiko Omawale and the filmmakers will play with creating an immersive experience on set, and will explore non-traditional uses of sound, frame, camera movement, and editing. We will play with texture in lighting, make up, and set dressing, with the goal of transporting the viewer into another dimension. The intimate and safe environment will enable us to capture the textured emotional landscape of characters entangled in their personal exploration of sexuality within the context of religion, culture, community, and ethnicity. In casting, we will be highlighting bodies that represent the opposite of the status quo, playing with assumptions around body and desire, and giving us an opportunity to investigate lust in a nuanced, new, and anti-colonial way. The immersion of the actors, director, and cinematographer in this world will go even further with dedicated rehearsals in the location leading up to the two-day shoot. In this way, the story will evolve based on the artists lived experiences and chemistry, which will invite both the participants and the viewers into the domain of desire and intimacy as a space for transformation and liberation.
FAWZIA MIRZA is an actor, writer, creator, who believes in the power of art and comedy to tackle divisive topics and breakdown stereotypes. She was named one of '10 Filmmakers to Watch' (Independent Magazine), a White House ‘Champion of Change’ (Asian American Art & Storytelling), a 3Arts Grant Recipient, a ‘Top 10 Creative’ (Indiewire), and a Djerassi Program Writing Resident. She's made award-winning short films, web series and documentaries, like The Queen of My Dreams, The First Session, Kam Kardashian, Spunkle, The Muslim Trump, Reclaiming Pakistan, The Streets Are Ours. She received the SFFILM Society’s Rainin Fellowship with co-writer Terrie Samundra to adapt her play Me, My Mom & Sharmila into a screenplay. Her first feature, Signature Move, which she produced, stars in and co-wrote with Lisa Donato (starring Indian film legend Shabana Azmi), world premiered at SXSW, screened 150+ film festivals, won 14 awards (Outfest Grand Jury Prize, Best US Narrative), streams on Amazon. She wrote for the new CBS drama series THE RED LINE, executive produced by Greg Berlanti and Ava Duvernay. @thefawz
CAROLYN MICHELLE SMITH was born in Washington, DC. First Generation Trinidadian-American, Carolyn spent her childhood attending international private elementary schools in the Washington, DC area. Her mother Carol Angela Smith was a legal secretary, and her father Mervyn Thompson was a factory worker and flutist. She received her BA in Theatre from Fordham University at Lincoln Center in New York. Upon graduation, she completed the Acting Apprenticeship at Actors Theater of Louisville in Louisville, KY. Returning to New York, Carolyn applied to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, and was accepted on a full scholarship. Upon graduation she's performed for such notable companies as Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Old Globe Theatre (San Diego), Barrow Street Theatre (Off-Broadway), and on Broadway in the 2013 production of "Romeo and Juliet" starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad. Her first on-screen role was opposite Robin Wright in "House of Cards" as "Willa" Claire's Chief of Staff. She resides in Los Angeles and New York.
TCHAIKO OMAWALE is an award winning director who grew up as a Global Nomad, a Black Third Culture Kid. Prior to moving to the United States at age 16, she lived in seven different countries while her father worked for UNICEF. Before pursuing narrative filmmaking Tchaiko made several short form projects. Her music videos were featured on Black Dog’s website and her short film Sita inspired by Octavia Butler and Derek Jarmon was exhibited in art spaces such as Project Row House exhibition for Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter. Tchaiko was awarded the Gaea Sea Change Residency for artists working for social change while working on America’s Shadows about the socio-economic HIV risk factors for Black and Latino NYC Youth. Her feature film Solace starring Hope Olaide Wilson, Lynn Whitfield and Glynn Turman was inspired by her personal experiences as a Black girl with an eating disorder. Solace recently premiered at the LA Film Festival where it won Special Jury Mention Best Ensemble Cast as well as the Audience Award at the New Orleans Film Festival. The film was supported by several institutions such as Panavision’s New Filmmakers Program, Tribeca Film Institute, IFP, Women In Film and Film Independent. It's currently on the festival circuit with distribution negotiations underway. She was a 2017 School of Making Thinking Resident fellow where she created the VR film Shapeshifters. In between her artistic projects she directs commercials/branded content. Though she chose a different path from her parents who worked in the International Public Health sector, Tchaiko’s choice to contribute to global equality by becoming a director is in line with her upbringing. You can see her work here: www.tchaiko.com
ZAMARIN WAHDAT Born in Afghanistan and raised in Germany, Zamarin first discovered her passion for visual storytelling when her father brought a video camera to their first home, an Asylum Seeking Place in Germany. From that moment on she was drawn to tell stories that let us not only see but feel communities and characters from the inside out. Zamarin has been granted a Dean’s fellowship at the Tisch School of the Arts where she continued her passion for visual storytelling, focussing on cinematography. Her films have been screened at numerous film festivals, including Berlin Film Festival, SXSW, BFI Film Festival and Tribeca . Her recent collaboration Liberty, which was supported by Film Independent won the best short film price at the Berlin Film Festival, SWSX and Miami International film festival. Along with these honours, she is the recipient of the Nestor Almendros Award for outstanding Cinematography in 2018 and an Arri Volker Bahnemann Finalist and a recent Project Involve Film Independent Alumn.
DONIA JARRAR is an Arab and Muslim-American composer, pianist, and interdisciplinary artist. Born to a Palestinian father and an Egyptian mother, she grew up between Kuwait City, Alexandria, Ramallah, and New York. Her personal experiences have strongly shaped her compositional voice, leading her to explore themes of intergenerational memory, trauma, identity, exile, displacement, and cultural narrative in her work. Jarrar was recently awarded the 2019 Discovery Grant for Female Composers from the National Opera Center of America for her work Seamstress, a documentary multimedia opera based on oral history interviews conducted with Palestinian women and girls from her community. She is also currently the only woman to be awarded First Prize in the Marcel Khalife Competition for the Young Palestinian Composer (40 and Under) for her work Border Crossings, a programmatic piece for voice, spoken word and orchestra describing her family’s flight out of Kuwait as refugees of the Gulf War. She has been commissioned by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and is a featured musician on the Emmy-award winning series Arab American Stories.
She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan.
STEFANI SAINTONG is a Haitian-American filmmaker and educator, in 2014 Stefani won the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Discovery Award for her short film, Seventh Grade. In 2018, she won Best and Favorite Experimental Film at BlackStar Film Festival for her short, Fucked Like a Star. Her work, which focuses on women, youth and immigration, has screened at several festivals and institutions internationally including Hammer Museum, Brooklyn Museum, New Orleans Film Festival and Austin Film Festival. A member of New Negress Film Society, she is a recipient of the Jerome Foundation Film and Video Grant, BRIO Arts Award and served as an artist in residence with Haiti Cultural Exchange.
CHANI NICHOLAS has been a student of astrology for the past 30 years and a counseling astrologer for over 20 years. She aims to make astrology practical, approachable, and useful. She believes the personal is political, art is magic, and that all should have access to the healing practices that we need. Writing horoscopes is her way of creating a free, communal, online space where healing can occur. Chani’s work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Oprah Magazine, the NY Times, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, NPR, The Atlantic, Harper’s Bazaar, and Teen Vogue.
SONYA PASSI has been a domestic violence activist since she was 16 years old. Before founding FreeFrom, she launched the Family Violence Appellate Project while earning her law degree at UC Berkeley. Based in Oakland, California, FVAP is the first and only organization in California to provide pro bono appellate legal services to survivors of domestic violence and has fundamentally transformed the legal landscape in California in just 5 years.
For her work with in the field, Sonya was listed in Forbes' 30 Under 30 Class of 2017 For Law and Policy, won the Impact & Audience Awards at SVP LA's 2018 Fastpitch, and is an Ashoka, Roddenberry, Uncharted and New America CA Fellow.
KATHERINE FISHER is an Emmy nominated and Gotham, Peabody, and GLAAD award-winning producer. She has over 15 years of experience producing narrative and documentary films in the U.S., UK, Kenya, and Congo. Her work has been screened at Sundance Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, SXSW, LA Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, among others. Recent credits include the 2018 Project Involve short films Liberty written and directed by Faren Humes, and A True Crime written and directed by Marques Green. Past credits include Ink from writer/director Rosie Haber, and the Emmy nominated series Her Story, directed by Sydney Freeland. Documentary works include One Billion Rising, and the award winning Netflix Original City of Joy. From 2004-2015 Katherine was the Director of Events for V-Day, the worldwide movement to end violence against women and girls. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and is a 2018 Film Independent Project Involve Fellow, a 2018 New Orleans Film Society Southern Producers Fellow, and a 2018 20th Century Fox Global Inclusion Fellow.
LAURA ZAK is the co-founder and creative director of Drinkwater Studios LLC, as well as an Emmy-nominated, Peabody, and Gotham Award winning writer, actor, and producer. After creating two seasons of the popular webseries "#Hashtag" in 2014, she went on to create in "Her Story" in 2016, for which she won the 2017 Peabody Futures of Media Award, the 2016 Gotham Award for Breakthrough Series, a 2017 GLAAD Media Award, and was nominated for the 2016 Emmy Award for Best Short-Form Comedy or Drama Series. Laura was a writer and actor on the Emmy-winning Amazon series "Danger & Eggs" as well as on Netflix's upcoming "Twelve Forever", the first series to ever feature an LGBTQ young person as its lead. Laura's theatrical work can be seen in various films, series, and music videos including "Take My Wife", "Spunkle", "Lesbian Princess", "Foxy Trot", and the upcoming "Eureka!"
TIFFANY L. GRAY, Esq., V.P. of Production & Business Affairs. After graduating from the University of San Francisco School of Law, Tiffany began her career in entertainment via her solo law practice, Gray Law, which she ran for 6 years while concurrently creating content as a freelance producer for a wide range of networks, studios, and brands. Now the V.P. of Production & Business Affairs for Extra Credit Studios, she oversees all aspects of this full-service production company, which specializes in stop-motion animation, live action scripted television and film, and cross-platform branded content. Tiffany is a member of the Producers Guild of America, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
This project made possible through a grant from 3Arts and donors to 3AP (3Arts Projects).