Filmmaker Interview by Chris Olson
Your powerful short documentary Deleted is now available to watch. For those who don't know, what's the documentary about?
Deleted is about the last five hours of a 58 year old man Ahmed Hussein Sidiqi before he becomes homeless due to bureaucratic systems by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Why did you want to tell this man's story?
I wanted to tell Mr Sidiqi's story for so many reasons, firstly to bring awareness of how many homeless people have been found dead on the streets across the United Kingdom and no one seems to be talking about it
Another reason was to listen to Mr Sidiqi's problem and tell his story in the most dignified way I could possibly think of.
Another reason was to remind viewers that anyone could be homeless. In the case of Mr Sidiqi, a middle-class man who has never been dependant on any government benefit in his life and the only time he did that support was not there. I wanted to really look into Mr Sidiqi's eyes, as we often pass by our homeless people on our streets as if they do not belong to our society.
What has the journey been like getting the film out to festivals and online?
Deleted has been received beautifully throughout the film festival journey, I miss the reactions from the audience in the cinema, there is something special about the cinema experience which can’t be the same as online.
2020 has seen Deleted going through online screenings, which was good as people from around the world were able to see it so that’s the good part of the online process. The only thing I missed out on was travelling as far as the USA & South Africa due to the covid situation but above all it was well received.
Where can people watch Deleted?
Deleted is available on Amazon / Samsung TV / Roku soon iTunes / Apple TV and proceeds goes to a Homeless Charity.
What's next for you?
I have two projects going: one is almost done and is called RESHAPED. It's a narrative short starring Vicky Knight (known for her role in Dirty God by Socha Polak which is available now on BBC iPlayer) and more supporting roles to be announced.
The next one doesn't have a title but I can say it's set in Glasgow, Scotland which I’ve already had the incredible Jamie Robson sign-on, so as soon as I finish RESHAPED I'll start with my 3rd story.
Why do you make movies?
I make movies for so many reasons, I remember growing up as a child, movies took me to so many countries learning human interactions, relationships, situations from different areas of the world. I also like to take the audience through valleys and landscapes of life as one of my favourite directors says “If we open people up we’d find landscapes”, Agnes Varga. But above all is to transport the audience into a world of imagination or taking one to be aware of those untold stories that require to be out there for so many reasons.
Who would you love to work with and why?
This is a difficult one as I have a long list but I’ll narrow it down to 4, 2 males 2 females. Mahershala Ali / Eddie Redmayne and Olivia Coleman and Michaela Cole.
For me, Mahershala is the Denzel Washington of our time, very versatile with his performances but so grounded and his inner performances are very strong. Eddie is quite quirky and he's great with vulnerability which is beautiful on screen.
Michaela, who gosh I could do so much with her, she’s like an eagle very free and wild and anything can happen and I love that. The wonderful Olivia whom I adore, her sense of humour and her quirky vulnerability she has unique ways of playing with her characters. To be fair I could easily pair all these actors, for example, Eddie with Mahershala and Michaela with Olivia, probably going on the comedy road with matching :)
What would you say if you were a dolphin?
Can you guys stop throwing your plastic in my house thank you!
Watch the Deleted documentary trailer below: