Film: TWO GODS (directed by Zeshawn Ali)

Post image for Film: TWO GODS (directed by Zeshawn Ali)

by Lamont Williams on May 10, 2021

in Film

A Black Muslim Casket Maker Takes Two Vulnerable Teens
Under His Wing in a Powerful Story of Brotherhood and Redemption
Film Launches in Theaters and Virtual Cinemas on Friday, May 21

 

Twelve-year-old Furquan, learning how to build a casket with the help of Hanif in TWO GODS
Hanif, performing Muslim body washing ritual in TWO GODS.

In an area of Newark where too many funerals commemorate tragically short lives, Hanif, an older man with a troubled past, works as a casket maker and ritual body washer. He is committed to his work and to his Islamic faith and is also a dedicated mentor to two local kids—Furquan, a confident 12-year-old who comes from a rough home and Naz, a 17-year-old who has been fighting through his own struggles as a young Black man growing up in Newark. Challenges come when Furquan’s home life becomes more turbulent and Naz gets caught up in a serious arrest. Hanif, struggling with the fear that he has failed as a mentor, begins to fall into a downward spiral.

Zeshawn Ali’s TWO GODS is the beautifully observed story of a Black Muslim casket maker in Newark, New Jersey, who takes two vulnerable young men from his community under his wing. A festival standout since it world-premiered at the Hot Docs Film Festival, the film has since shown at the Full Frame, DOC NYC, Camden, New Orleans (Jury Award), Montclair (Jury Award), and Florida (Jury Award) festivals, among others. It will launch in select theaters and virtual cinemas nationwide (including BAMcinématek and Maysles virtual cinemas in NYC and Laemmle virtual cinemas in LA area) beginning on Friday, May 21. Shot in exquisite black and white, Zeshawn Ali’s auspicious feature debut is a lyrical meditation on the importance of community and passing down generational knowledge through faith, brotherhood and redemption.

Zeshawn Ali is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is based in New York. He and his brother, Aman Ali, are Muslim American storytellers who helped create the “30 Mosques in 30 Days” project (featured in the NY Times, CNN, BBC, and many others) where they drove 25,000 miles to every state in America to tell stories and produce short films about Muslim Americans. TWO GODS is Zeshawn’s first feature documentary.

photos by Zeshawn Ali

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