Born and raised in Queens, Ameer Kazmi has watched NYC grow and change for twenty years. Here, he shares his perspective of the ever-changing five boroughs through his student film, Speedy.
Many people see only a façade of New York City that has come to embody the consequences that follow actions of neglect and exploitation. This change that has been rapidly swallowing the city over the last 20 years has left us native New Yorkers victims of what can be referred to as a type of colonization.
I consider myself lucky enough to have been born and raised in the most diverse place in the world: Queens, New York. However, there is now a great migration, due to absurd rises in real estate value, as people—those whose families have made New York City as great as it is today—flee their homes. In recent years, suffering has increased in our communities, not because of violence or poverty, but because of a blatant disregard for the heritage of the youth in our city.
We are a new breed of working class. I made my film Speedy to begin to create a voice in solidarity with this new breed, which I believe deserve to be recognized. It’s this side of New York that people need to experience and these voices that can make a difference.
As a director, this was the largest project I’ve completed thus far. The production had to meet a lot of challenges, difficult finances and inclement weather, to name only a few. But with the help of my phenomenal crew, we were able to pull everything together into a product I can be proud of. I haven’t done much narrative fiction (this is only my second narrative film) and it was a learning experience. I have spent countless hours analyzing and reworking the film, and it has had some success — but with that attention I have now come to see all of its errors vividly. I am ready and excited to move forward. I really wouldn’t ask for any more than that.
Logline: A growing teen struggles with change as rent raises push his father’s store out of business.