Obeid Uddin’s bumpy journey to becoming a filmmaker began in his childhood. “I always wanted to be a filmmaker, and my family business, QFX Cinemas, also pushed me to watch a lot of movies,” Obeid recalls. His interest in movies had him start exploring with blogs and short films at the age of 14. The movie, Jurassic Park, elevated his interest and was the turning point for him to decide to pursue a career as a filmmaker. At this time, he was pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business in Malaysia. “Halfway through I realised this was not something I was interested in. I transferred to Los Angeles to study film,” he shares.
In LA, he continued to make short films which he would post on his YouTube channel, uddinbat. In fact, he wrote the script for the film “Late Night” while he was pursuing his studies. The short film is the only Nepali film selected for the 2023 Lighthouse International Film Festival. The festival is dedicated to showcasing new and innovative films and fostering the next generation of filmmakers.
“Film-making is an art that deepens a movie’s themes and gives it meaning by addressing important or provocative concepts. They can investigate difficult human emotions, moral conundrums, societal problems, personal development, and philosophical ideas. My first professional short film, ‘Late Night’ being nominated for the ‘2023 Lighthouse International Film Festival, felt really surreal,” shares Obeid.
He gets his creative inspiration from real life incidents. As a regular Uber user, he came across dozens of stories of horror that happen on Uber rides with the drivers or the passengers. During the final years of his studies, he had to come back to Nepal due to the pandemic. “I then edited my story of Uber to Pathao and later renamed it Uthao,” he laughs. The movie is a horror and psychological thriller. The storyline of the short film is about a girl who books an Uthao, and the guy turns out to be creepy and stalks her. “The short film is about 12 minutes, and it took two whole days to complete the shoot and three months for the editing,” Obeid shares.
A film is often also a reflection of society and the changing times, and the filmmaker gets his satisfaction based on the film’s impact and level of audience engagement. “The current trends in filmmaking are that people are exploring the arts through films, and technology-wise, it is improving every day. I want to explore more horror genre themes in my upcoming movies,” he says, adding, “Nepal has many superstitions related to religion and gods. This gives me more opportunities to explore horror and psychological genres which are my favourite”.
What are key skills for a filmmaker. Obeid says, “Problem solving as there are always some problems happening on the set. And communication to keep the team together”. However, he emphasises, “Scriptwriting is the most important element in filmmaking because if the script is bad, everything else goes downhill.”