As the two closeted gay teens go about their regular daily routine on a Friday afternoon in Brooklyn – from visiting their local Mosque to selling lotto tickets on the streets – they arouse the suspicions of an undercover FBI agent who begins to track them. This complicated tale of race, religion, sexuality, and undercover surveillance is an original look into the lives of an underrepresented community, and what it means to be young and disenfranchised in New York City.
The film was inspired by writer-director Jay Dockendorf’s interviews with Muslims – including closeted gays – who experienced FBI surveillance in New York after 9/11.
Naz & Maalik deftly explores issues of government surveillance of Muslims, the tense relationship between black men and police, sexuality, and Brooklyn’s increasing gentrification. This drama is a day in the life look at the unique experience of being young, gay, black and Muslim in Brooklyn. Anchored by award-winning, naturalistic lead performances from Kerwin Johnson, Jr. and Curtiss Cook, Jr., Indiewire said the film is ‘intimate, authentic, and feels decidedly relevant in today’s current context.’
Jay Dockendorf (writer, director) is a writer, director and composer. Naz & Maalik is his first narrative feature. His short documentary “Vigilante Copy Editor” (2013) was a featured Op-Doc of The New York Times. He co-composed the music for Naz & Maalik with Adam Gunther. Winner of Tribeca Film Institute’s IWC Filmmaker Award for Naz & Maalik, Jay has two more features in development with producers Margaret Katcher and Jacob Albert. All three are graduates of Yale University.
Naz & Maalik
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Photo by Wolf Video