Watch the Official Trailer for “Zahra and the Oil Man”
Image: Production still from Zahra and the Oil Man. c/o Yucef Mayes
By Community Media Center
“Zahra and the Oil Man”, a short film as part of a feature film titled “Brick People”, is a story about the daughter of a Muslim street merchant, who is fighting to save her father’s struggling business in hopes of changing the trajectory of her family’s financial future. The story shows an intimate relationship between a father and daughter from Newark who are experiencing an economic disadvantage. It is a hardship that puts this father and daughter’s relationship to the test. Zahra and her dad, Hafeez, have an opportunity to help each other grow. Hafeez learns that he needs his daughter’s help just as much as his daughter needs him. Watch the official trailer:
This particular story serves the community by giving hope at the most difficult economic times. This film also is an opportunity to reflect a different narrative about Newark families, specifically, a father and daughter’s relationship. Most stories about Newark residents don’t reflect a positive image. Zahra and the Oil Man gives an opportunity to reflect the residents of Newark’s humanity.
About the Director
Yucef Mayes is a graduate of The New School University of New York City and a former writing fellow of the Medgar Evers College National Writers’ Conference. Yucef is originally a short story writer who delved into filmmaking when he realized a camera can vividly show what he was trying to tell.
Yucef is the Co-Founder of Shine Black Art & Film, a film company that creates content and narratives about underrepresented populations and people of color. Yucef and his cousin and partner Aaron Melvin, serve as advocates for African American voices; voices that are too many times suppressed, too many times unheard. Using narrative storytelling, Yucef’s main goal is to explore the nuances of the socioeconomic plight of the African American, which he terms “The Third World Experience of America.”
Yucef has produced, written, and directed a short film Driver, starring the late Newark Icon, Rodney Gilbert. Driver is about an estranged father who was afforded another opportunity at fatherhood after a family tragedy. Driver toured film festival circuit, screening at Newark International Film Festival, Harlem Hip-Hop Film Festival, and Baltimore’s Reginald Lewis Museum.
In order to produce his second short film, Zahra and the Oil Man, Yucef raised start-up funds by way of crowdfunding as well as soliciting sponsors from local businesses. Zahra and the Oil Man is a story about the daughter of a Muslim street merchant, who is fighting to save her father’s struggling business in hopes of changing the trajectory of her family’s financial future. Zahra and the Oil Man is a short film a part of a feature film titled Brick People.
Yucef plans to create content that expands the African American narrative; challenge mainstream stereotypes; and aid in fostering a culture of inclusiveness. This mission is evident in this larger project Brick People, which is an exclusive product of Newark but reflective of every city on the rise. Yucef is a grant recipient of Express Newark RFP Grant for Post-Production and to host six community screenings in early 2019 in partnership with Rutgers-Newark Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center. The screenings will examine a new practice called Social Impact Entertainment, where narrative films help examine the nuances of social issues in order to promote a platform for healthy debate and dialogue.