Having a dad who documented pretty much everything on a massive VHS camcorder clearly left a lasting impression on writer and director, Aleem Khan, who started to make little films and plays from a young age, often by roping in family and friends whenever he could. He cites his introduction to the works of Greenaway, Fassbinder and British playwright Hanif Kureishi at the age of 17 as being responsible for igniting his desire to make his own films.
A degree in film production at Westminster University made Aleem fall in love with the mechanics and machinery around making films on celluloid and opened his eyes to the political power of cinema, through the Italian neorealist films that he was studying.
Although he knew he wanted to be a director, Aleem felt it was important to ‘speak for himself’ and tell his own stories, and so began the seven year journey of writing and directing his first feature, After Love, a story that explores the emotional journey of an English Muslim convert, who after her husband’s death, discovers he has a secret family in Calais.
Aleem says all of his films are close to home in one way or another and this is especially true in After Love, whose characters are partly inspired by his parents and his life in Kent.
With selections at Cannes Critics’ Week, Telluride and an emotional and intimate premiere of After Love at the London Film Festival, Aleem is looking forward to building a network of peers and for his work being part of a body of films that younger filmmakers of colour can see themselves in. He hopes that through being a BAFTA Breakthrough, he will be part of a shift in mindset within BAFTA and the film industry towards a more representative cinematic future.