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U-M Filmmaker's work draws raves

Sultan Sharreif's film "Bilal's Stand" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Jan. 21-31 in Park City, Utah.

Sultan Sharreif admits he’s living the dream.

His film, “Bilal’s Stand,” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Jan. 21-31 in Park City, Utah. Local film reviewers praised the film, and Sharrief’s unique voice and vision. The Ann Arbor premiere of the film was held Jan. 31 at the Michigan Theater.

Sharrief, an ’06 U-M grad, wrote and directed the film, which follows the travails of Bilal, a Muslim high-school senior who lives in Detroit, as he struggles to pursue a dream of attending college and a life illuminated by higher education. To watch an interview with the filmmaker, please click the arrow in the box below.

The film was featured in the NEXT category at the festival, added this year to spotlight eight low- and no-budget American films deemed by the Sundance Institute to be innovative and original.

“These filmmakers live and breathe true indie spirit,” John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival, told the Hollywood Reporter.

Five years in the making, the film is the outgrowth of the Student EFEX Project  (Encouraging the Filmmaking Experience), a partnership between local artists, UM students, and metro Detroit high school students.

The EFEX project and “Bilal’s Stand”grew from a class in “Community Filmmaking” created by Sharrief and Terri Sarris, a lecturer in U-M’s Department of Screen Arts and Cultures.