Sahro Hassan: Fashioning her Future

Meet Sahro Hassan, a young Somali immigrant who stepped into the halls of Lewiston Regional Technical Center in Maine, as a freshman in 2010. At that young age she was already designing her future along with trendy clothes for young Muslim women. “The fashion industry in the US doesn’t do justice to modest women, especially when it comes to young females like me, and that frustrated me,” explains Hassan. “I decided to create fashions appropriate to my culture and to my beliefs,” she adds, “but also unique and sophisticated so that both Muslim and non-Muslim women would want to wear it.” We start at a fashion show being video-taped at Lewiston Middle school where the young designer was once a student. There we see Hassan working with Muslim and non-Muslim models, both backstage and then on stage. Interviews with Hassan and her teachers/mentors complete the picture.

  • David Helfer Wells
  • David Helfer Wells
  • David Helfer Wells
  • David Helfer Wells
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 9 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 1, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital Video 1920 x 1080
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - David Helfer Wells

I am an award winning* free-lance photographer/ video-maker affiliated with Aurora Photos and I am based in Providence, Rhode Island. One editor described me as a “...specialist in intercultural communication and visual narratives that excel in their creative mastery of light, shadow and sound, stills and video."

Over the years I have worked on assignment for such magazines as Fortune, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Sunday New York Times, Time, etc. I have also worked for corporations such as Consolidated Natural Gas and DuPont as well as for non-profits such as the Ford Foundation and the New Israel Fund.

My photo-essays have been funded by fellowships from Nikon/NPPA, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the MacArthur Foundation's Program of Research and Writing on International Peace and Cooperation, the Alicia Patterson Foundation and the Fulbright Foundation. My project on the pesticide poisoning of California farm workers was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

My Cafe video won Best of ASMP in 2014.
My Waterfire video was selected for screening at the SENE Film festival.
My Kutch video + still project won an Eddy award from Folio magazine

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Director Statement

At my core, I am a storyteller, using whatever visual communication technology I can to tell stories. In my current work, I photograph as well as make "visual short stories" of the people, places and things that I encounter. A visual short story, like a written one, is "...a narrative dealing with a few characters, one central theme, aiming at unity of effect, concentrating on the creation of mood rather than a plot," according to Merriam-Webster.