UPDATE: Kamran Pasha is now the Co-Executive Producer and head writer for Disney’s new Tron television series.
Kamran Pasha is a filmmaker and author born in Pakistan. He is the author of Shadow of the Swords, a novel about the Third Crusade, and Mother of the Believers, a story about the prophet Muhammad’s wife, Aisha. Kamran is also one of the first successful Muslim filmmakers in Hollywood, working on projects such as Showtime’s Sleeper Cell, NBC’s Kings and Bionic Woman, and a big upcoming Disney project. Kamran is a regulator contributor to the Huffington Post, writing about religion, culture, and society.
When he was three, Kamran moved to New York, where he lived in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. Kamran became fascinated with studying not only his own religion of Islam, but that of his neighbors and others around the world. After earning a BA in religious studies, Kamran thought the most sensible thing to do was to go to law school, despite a growing passion for writing. The universe intervened and Kamran didn’t get into the law schools he applied to. Instead, he went to work on Wall Street as a journalist. His talent for writing and journalism flourished and he soon found himself interviewing influential heads of state such as Israeli Prime Minister, Shimon Peres, and Benazir Buttoh, the first woman to be elected to lead Pakistan who was assassinated in 2007.
Kamran eventually got into Law School and found himself giving up his love for journalism to go back to school. He quickly grew unsatisfied at school and found himself trying his hand at writing a movie script to pass the time in class. Kamran had always dreamed of moving to Hollywood to be a filmmaker but had always thought his dream was nothing but an unrealistic fantasy.
On a whim, he picked up a directory of Hollywood agents and sent a query letter to the first six agents listed, asking them to have a look at his script. After receiving five rejection letters, he was ready to give up. Several months went by before he got a call from the sixth agent who asked to see his script. The agent saw talent in Kamran and asked to represent him. Feeling inspired, Kamran flew to Hollywood, where he ended up selling two scripts in four days, making around $50,000. Soon after, Kamran received his MFA from UCLA film school.
Despite this initial success, Kamran struggled over the next couple of years. In April of 2001, he wrote a script about how the American judicial system would change in the event of a major terrorist attack by Muslim extremists. The script got him a lot of attention and people were very interested in Kamran’s unique perspective as one of the only Muslim writers in Hollywood. However, on September 11th, everything changed and suddenly, no one wanted to touch Kamran’s script. The very asset that had made his perspective unique – his religion – was now too much of a controversial topic for Hollywood to tackle.
Kamran made it through the next four years by taking a series of small gigs. Just as he was feeling close to giving up on his dreams, he got a call about the very script that had been rejected four years ago. Showtime’s new series, Sleeper Cell, was very interested in Kamran’s script and his writing talent. He ended up co-producing the show, which went on to be a great success and was nominated for several Emmy and Golden Globe awards. The show tells the story of a Muslim agent who infiltrates an extremeist cell to sabatoge their plans. This story had a profound effect on many people’s perceptions of Islam, helping to highlight the differences between extremism and mainstream Islam. After Sleeper Cell, Kamran went on to work on many other projects – Bionic Woman, Kings, Mother of the Believers (novel), Shadow of the Swords (novel) and even 50 Cent’s video game Blood on the Sand.
Check out our inspirational interview with Kamran:
Category: Interviews, Shared Dreams Tags: 50 cent, author, Bionic Woman, blood on the sand, Disney, dream share project, entertainment, filmmaker, Huffington Post, Islam, Kamran Pasha, Kings, Mother of the Believers, Muslim, Screenwriter, Series, Shadow of the Swords, Sleeper Cell, Tron, TV