Naz & Maalik

DIRECTOR: Jay Dockendorf

West Coast Premiere

Expected to attend: Director Jay Dockendorf, Producers Margaret Katcher

Set in sun-dappled Brooklyn, Naz & Maalik is, on the surface, a charming story of a couple of Black Muslim teenagers just hanging out, but it skillfully weaves weighty themes into its nonchalant narrative of two young men trying to maintain carefully constructed blinds around their sexuality. On a peaceful Friday afternoon, gregarious Maalik and unassuming Naz hustle street corners in their neighborhood selling lotto tickets and perfume—and reveling in the afterglow of a night spent together. What they don’t know is at the same time they’re being followed by Agent Sarah Mickell of the FBI, who is keeping an eye on the teens based on a tip from an informant. Naz and Maalik may be hiding something, but it’s not what the agent suspects.

As their secrets threaten to surface, the two must decide whether or not they are going to open up about their relationship to their friends and family. Inspired by interviews with Muslims in New York, director Jay Dockendorf takes aim at gentrification and post-9/11 surveillance of Muslims, highlighting the disconnect between gratuitous notions and actual lived experience. Endearing and full of heart, the two leads (Curtiss Cook Jr. and Kerwin Johnson Jr.) hold the center of this deceptively breezy story, and impressive camerawork pulls viewers right into the action. The result is quietly affecting and shows a slice of life rarely seen onscreen.

— Mordecai Stayton

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F124

Co-presented by:
San Francisco LGBT Community Center
Start Talking. Stop HIV

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