Interview: Mashie Alam

What made you want to become a director & producer? 

My parents were hard workers and were away a lot, so my brother and I were basically raised by television, movies, and the library. Everything we learned, imagined, played with, dressed up as, and ate were all inspired by what we saw on tv or what we rented from ROGERS Video (which no longer exists). I have always wanted to be a filmmaker! But it didn’t actually hit me until I was in university majoring in Architecture (because my folks wouldn’t let me major in film) and we were required to take an additional class in a different medium of art form to broaden our perspectives! And it was late into the year, so there were only a couple of seats available in just one class, and it was a film studies class! In that class I watched for the first time, which is my favourite film of all time now, Wong Kar Wai’s “Chungking Express”, and I knew right then that I wasn’t going to become an Architect!

How did you get started? 

I was very lucky! I was surrounded by a ton of artists, musicians, photographers, models, and actors when I moved out of the suburbs and into the city! I modelled from a young age as well so I had the opportunity to make a lot of contacts through that! My great group of supportive friends guided me, helped me, and encouraged me to just write and create!

What’s your daily routine like?

This is going to sound super arrogant, but let’s just call it “self love”! I usually get about 10+ hours of sleep, then I wake up and do a thorough 12 step Korean skin care routine! After that I drink coffee, but because I’m usually really late due to my 10+ hours of sleep, I get coffee when I get to work! I drink lots of coffee and eat fruit! Sometimes I have a lot of meetings, sometimes I don’t! I work on some treatments! Towards the end of the day I get groceries, head home, go to the gym (sometimes), eat, probably watch tons of HBO and Netflix! Work on treatments! Go on Instagram! Go to bed! It’s not that exciting!

Is going to school necessary to become a director & producer?

This is a hard one! I think going to school is important because you learn in an organized and controlled environment! Plus you leave with a ton of contacts, and have quite a bit of time to establish your personal style and aesthetic! I only studied some film theory in school so I think that just made me really interesting at dinner parties but not so savvy on set. Not going to school is really interesting as well, because you learn by being thrown right into the environment! It’s hands on, fast, scary, but fun! Lots of googling and classes at the University of YouTube are involved! But you build contacts really fast and learn fast! 

Name your top 3 favourite films and why. 

(1) “Chungking Express” by Wong Kar Wai. I love the shots of the busy Honk Kong streets at night, and the two vibrant love stories that collide ever so slightly! It’s definitely a vibrant cerebral experience! Might be frustrating for those who favour a linear plot! But a huge treat for people who love to get lost!

(2) “There Will Be Blood” by Paul Thomas Anderson. It’s just a perfect movie.

(3) “Raw” by Julia Ducournau. We get to see the world from the perspective of a beautiful monster, and strangely feel empathy for her even though she eats people.

Where do you get inspiration from? 

From Sofia Coppola, Proenza Schouler, Michael Mann, and my friends! 

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

Food! Wait, maybe HBO! I am not sure! I think I have to go with food. 

Do you like reading? If so, what is your favourite book? 

I love reading! It’s a tie between “A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man” by James Joyce and every single unauthorized biography of Aubrey Drake Graham!

Who is your female role model? 

My female role model is Nina Simone, she is extraordinary, and an amazing musician! I love her in every single way! And she once said “I don't like rap music at all. I don't think it's music. It's just a beat and rapping” and I think that’s so funny! Because I love rap! 

Where can we see more of you? 

In a theatre near you! Kidding! I’m working on a few short films right now that I hope to premier in some local film festivals in Toronto and in Oregon in the coming months! So keep your eyes peeled! You can also find me on Instagram under @mmmmashie and my website www.mashiealam.ca