Project Description

ISTIKHAARA, NEW YORK features Reza, an artist and Brooklyn transplant, Babbu, a recent immigrant and revolutionary from Delhi, and Rahul, an aspiring Imam and crony capitalist, finding themselves in an America where they are ever the more important but feeling even more looked over.

With his dreams of becoming a broadway actor falling further out of reach and a paycut threatening to displace him, Reza, a young Muslim food delivery courier, must looks within his community and ultimately himself, to find some emotional stability to rebuild his purpose for being in New York City.

ISTIKHAARA, NEW YORK follows a long cinematic tradition of characters looking to find themselves in the masses of people and cityscape of New York. This time focusing on a community and group of Muslim Food Delivery Couriers casted from both within and outside of their community. The film isn’t a spotlight on the minority struggle, but a celebration of life and repurposing under the lens of the bloodlines of a city; on the cusp of economic and moral collapse.

Borrowing from a tradition of conversational films such as LA HAINE, FRANCES HA, and KIDS, the film explores how a rapidly changing world challenges our rigid sense of self.


- Film is currently a proxy rendering in 1080p (Final Export will be 4K Color-corrected)
- No color correction (Applied LUT)
- No sound design
- Finishing the score
- Still in the process of Editing


Film was initially completely self-funded and independently Produced but has since been partnered with the Islamic Scholarship Fund (, The XTR Film Society, and the nonprofit organization, Desis Rising Up and Moving.

Written and Directed by Yasir Masood

Produced by Yasir Masood, Nicky Weinstock, Bryn Mooser, Kathryn Everett, Alisha Bhowmik, and Garson Ormiston

Executive Produced by Nabeel Masood, Haris Masood, & Kareem Rahma, Yasir Masood

Cinematography by Levi Wilkinson

Edited by Cameron Neely & Weston Morgan

Starring Nabeel Masood, Harris Ansari, Faizan Kareem

  • Yasir Masood
  • Yasir Masood
  • Yasir Masood
  • Nicky Weinstock
    Funny People, Severence (Apple+), Friendsgiving
  • Kathryn Everett
    Ascension, Faya Dayi, Ailey, Homeroom
  • Bryn Mooser
    Ascension, Faya Dayi, Ailey, Homeroom, Body Team 12
  • Nabeel Masood
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Feature
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 25 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    February 28, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, Urdu
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Yasir Masood

Yasir is a New York based, Texas raised, and Pakistani born self-taught filmmaker creating work that explores migration, masculinity, and identity in Muslim-American communities. My goal as an artist is to redefine the Muslim image in popular culture, to one that is nuanced, human, and more honest to our experience. I believe in a collaborative approach to filmmaking and I try to apply the working class mentality that I inherited to everything I do. My first film, The Last Hunt, premiered at the Austin Film Festival '17. I wrote and directed SHENJI458, a finalist in the original series competition at the Austin Film Festival '18, and most recently premiered Markings at the Oscar Qualifying, Los Angeles Asian American FF. I am currently a Brand Manager for XTR, a premium documentary studio based in LA and Documentary+, a nonfiction streaming platform.

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