big: up-and-coming writer Albuliwi.
Bandar Albuliwi, a 20-year-old aspiring screenwriter and junior
at the University at Albany, everyone has a story and a theme.
He observes each moment like a hawk, seeing a potential character
in everyone around him and studying the particularities of
city life. To Albuliwi, a city can breathe just like a person.
went to a high school where my best friend and I didn’t fit
in,” Albuliwi said in a recent interview. “We’d skip classes
almost every day. . . . I found that I learned more on my
own, from the city streets, more than what I could learn in
city, for me, became a character,” said Albuliwi, of his home
neighborhood of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. “It can be the best
place to be when you’re happy, and the saddest place when
you’re feeling terrible.”
Now, he’s in the process of turning his habit of examining
city life and humanity into a career.
After trying his pen for more than a year at writing screenplays
and stage plays, Albuliwi created a script that has attracted
the interest of professionals in the film industry. The screenplay,
Picasso, is Albuliwi’s third completed script and his
only work, thus far, to achieve recognition in the professional
Peter Belsito, executive vice president of the film marketing
company Film Finders in Hollywood, was the first pro to read
Picasso. It wasn’t long after that he decided to take
a personal business interest in the project. Using his power
as a film and screenplay marketer, he has generated the interest
of such production notables as Malik Ducard, vice president
of acquisitions at Lions Gate Entertainment, and Quentin Little
of HDNet Films. Each of these representatives will attend
a staged reading of Picasso on Nov. 18 at the Abingdon
Theater in New York City.
Belsito, confidant in Albuliwi’s “promising work,” described
Picasso as “hard-hitting and true . . . a clear-eyed
look at tragic youth today.” Said Belsito, “He’s definitely
got some talent. . . . The story is a coming-of-age piece,
aimed at a large youth demographic. . . . Those kinds of films
have great potential. It’s just a matter of getting the film
made and having the right people see it.”
Drawing from his high-school experience, Albuliwi has created
in Picasso a piece that he believes will speak to the
kids and relive, on screen, the passion and inner-workings
of the city he has come to love.
found that writing could reach people . . . you can really
make an impact on their lives, the way they think,” Albuliwi
said. “When I write, I can write about whatever the hell I
want to. With film, I can allow the audience to see what I
want them to, to feel how I need them to.”
So he thought long and hard, attempting to create a character
that was “autobiographical in a sense,” yet vivid enough to
appeal to a large mass of moviegoers. Eventually, he crafted
Darien Adams, Picasso’s protagonist. Darien is troubled
by his mother’s recent death, yet he is offered a full arts
scholarship to the University of Miami, something he knows
will help him realize his dream of becoming a successful painter.
While choosing between staying in the city he knows best or
following his dreams of becoming a successful artist, Darien
learns that his memories aren’t easily forgotten.
Not surprisingly, the screenplay is beginning to resemble
Albuliwi’s own path to success. Although his parents are still
in very good health, Albuliwi has come to a similar point
in his own life. Disillusioned by school and academics, he’s
been juggling the choices of following his own dreams as a
screenwriter or following his parents’ wishes of completing
his education. As of now, Albuliwi seems to know what is best
for him. On Dec. 15, he plans on leaving New York for L.A.,
working hand-in-hand with Belsito, and (hopefully) getting
right down to shooting his film.
Albuliwi says that the production estimates for the film range
from $1.5 to $2 million, dictating his need for talent-thirsty
producers. In the meantime, he has spent his time raising
money, seeking in vestments, and advertising his film’s Web
site, www.picassothemovie.com. And as far as acquiring an
agent is concerned, Albuliwi feels his own peddling efforts
will be sufficient in selling the film.
am I going to pay 10 percent to someone when I can be making
my own calls?” Albuliwi said. “If producers like my script,
if they see something there, they’ll buy it and I’ll have
done it all myself.”
Aside from Picasso, Albuliwi recently received news
that his stage play, Side by Side, will be produced
at New York City’s American Theater of Actors. The director
of the theater, James Jennings, has offered to produce the
play in full, giving Albuliwi a flat rate for the script and
any resulting royalties that the play may produce. The script
involves the conversations of two 20-something death-row inmates
as they await execution, sitting in their respective cells
next to one another.
In the coming month before his move out West, the success
of Side by Side will give Albuliwi’s film dreams a
jump-start, not to mention allow him a little taste of how
his work can affect an audience.
Albuliwi’s ambition is there. He’s aiming high, and things
seem to be breaking his way.