An alcoholic with a martyr complex must stay sober for a weekend while going home (after over a year) to see his dying Uncle and religious Muslim family. But as he loses his grip on reality he struggles to grapple with not just deeper childhood traumas, but also new dark revelations of sexual abuse that will test him in this neo-noir tragedy.

  • Ali Ahmed
  • Ali Ahmed
  • Ali Ahmed
  • Ali Ahmed
  • Ali Ahmed
  • Brendan McGowan
  • Skya Theobald
    Assistant Director
  • Anya Banerjee
    Key Cast
  • Inji Zayba Zaheer
    Key Cast
  • J. Singh
    Key Cast
  • Nicholas Escobar
  • David Shaw
  • Armani Barron
    Set Designer
  • Sam Grumet
  • Alexandra Tint
    Makeup Artist
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Neo-noir
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 23 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 15, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • NC South & East International Asian Film Festival
  • New York Women in Film & TV (NYWIFT) Shorts Film Festival

    Best Actor Award
Director Biography - Ali Ahmed

Ali Ahmed is an actor, screenwriter, and filmmaker represented by WEG Talent. He graduated from the Neighborhood Playhouse drama school and the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Neuroscience and Film. He is also a former employee of ICM Partners. One of his feature scripts, The Mirage, was praised by an Academy Award-nominated writer/director. He's had the opportunity to pitch his work to Netflix.

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Director Statement

Buried & Forgotten is my debut film. It explores Southasian family and mental health dynamics within a MeToo story. What ignited the inspiration for this story was wanting to explore the relationship between siblings who deal with trauma in polar opposite ways. The protagonist is consumed by his martyr complex, while his sister is resilient and self-aware. However, halfway through the story, once the protagonist learns of his sister's dark secret the rug is harrowingly pulled from under his feet.

I wanted to examine the mind of someone who is unable to separate his deranged thoughts from his own sense of self. Both of these characters have endured pain and trauma and need that to be acknowledged. But the protagonist's arc is a meditation on how when one is filled with self-hatred and is also incapable of finding solace and healing in their community, they can spiral down a rabbit hole to a very dark place. As the protagonist is seeking to purge himself of his demons, he commits the ultimate crime in the name of redemption.

Some of the challenges I experienced while making this film include: wearing multiple hats, having a very low budget as this was self-financed, losing a key crew member during production who caught Covid, and dealing with hurricane warnings and a severe weather storm during production, which forced us to consolidate two days of work into one day.

I was inspired by films such as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Joker, The Lost Weekend, and Half Nelson. This was my first collaboration with every cast and crew member. Their passion for this story and what it expresses resonated through the entire process. I'm very proud of the grounded and realistic performances in the film and the way in which we dealt with very heavy subject matter. I'm very excited to share it with the filmmaking community!