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Meet the 2013 SXSW Filmmakers #52: Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq Return to Pakistan for 'These Birds Walk'

By Indiewire | Indiewire March 8, 2013 at 7:49PM

Filmmakers Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq bring their motherland of Pakistan to the big screen in their feature film, "These Birds Walk." Omar previously shot for "Jackass" and Bassam previously made commercials for "Lucky Charms." They met in Harlem and Tariq then helped Mullick on his solo show at a Chelsea gallery. After that, they left New York to return to Pakistan.
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Omar & Bassam
Omar & Bassam
Filmmakers Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq bring their motherland of Pakistan to the big screen in their feature film, "These Birds Walk."  Omar previously shot for "Jackass" and Bassam previously made commercials for "Lucky Charms." They met in Harlem and Tariq then helped Mullick on his solo show at a Chelsea gallery. After that, they left New York to return to Pakistan.

What it's about: "A lyrical journey of a runaway boy in Pakistan whose life hangs on one critical question: where is home?"

What else is central to the story: "The aging humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi, the gruff national saint of Pakistan. He is founder of the Edhi Foundation, which provides a sanctuary, employment and welfare services for our protagonists and the country that binds them. He initially refused outright to be in a film about his work, but relented if we met his requirement. His challenge was this: if we wanted to know him, we should go to the ordinary people who work for him and whom he serves. If wanted to know his story, it was there.  Our film is a literal, even stubborn visual response. Edhi may bookend the film, but his presence is one that hangs irrevocably over all these lives. And the struggles these ordinary characters face to save and be saved under the roof of a private welfare institution represent a microcosm of the country at large. The people you watch are tougher than we are."

"These Birds Walk"
Oscilloscope Laboratories "These Birds Walk"

On the Biggest Challenges: "Navigating Karachi, staying safe, gaining trust of our subjects, raising money, shifting schedules, waiting. Oh yes, and waiting."

What they hope SXSW audiences will walk away with: "A new look at this region is like discovering that new band at La Zona Rosa, Austin. "

Films that inspired them: "Streetwise by Martin Bell, Three Rooms of Melancholia by Pirkko Saisio, Made in Britain by Alan Clarke, Meeting People is Easy by Grant Gee, The Belovs by Victor Kossakovsky"

What's next: "A tone-poem on war."

Indiewire invited SXSW Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on March 8 for the latest profiles.

This article is related to: South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW), Meet the 2013 SXSW Filmmakers, These Birds Walk