Nadia Latif Director of ‘They Heard Him Shout Allahu Akbar’

Nadia Latif – Director of They Heard Him Shout Allahu Akbar

Please introduce yourself …

Salam – I’m Nadia Latif, I’m from Sudan, and I’m a film director and theatremaker.

The inspiration for They Heard Him Shout Allahu Akbar?

We were inspired to write a film that didn’t feel too fantastical or far away, something that felt it was impacting the lives of black and brown people around us right now. That’s way, way scarier, and we love the intersection between sci-fi and horror. We also knew we wanted to take a really popular sci-fi trope and apply it to a totally original protagonist, one you’d never seen before in the genre – and we quickly settled on mind-control and a Muslim protagonist. 

Tell us about the team you worked with…

We haven’t been making films for a very long time, so we’re always really keen to meet and work with dope new people. Olan Collardy our DoP and Christopher Melgram our Production Designer were both incredible collaborators and work tirelessly to interrogate and build the visual worlds of the film.

What’s does the story mean to you?

I think the film was intended to create empathy between an audience and the present-day experiences of Muslim people in this country, and the scrutiny they are under.

Tell us a memorable moment from idea to final edit?

We always knew that the film was set in Finsbury Park, and a view of people coming out of the mosque was always key to the film. But on the day, during Covid, that shot felt slightly miraculous – we were all crammed in this tiny flat opposite waiting and praying that anyone would be attending prayers that day. I remember lying on a bed with Fiona Lamptey the producer and distracting one another with jokes. We were waiting for ages and then they all flooded out – I nearly wept it was so perfect.

Share a skill-defining moment making this film?

Making a film during the pandemic was hard but Fiona made it look effortless. This process taught me to trust your collaborators and empower them – there were definitely fewer points of face to face contact, but we made it work.

What’s next?

I’m shooting my first feature film – an adaptation of the Walter Mosley novel The Man In My Basement later this year. I’m still totally amazed I’m part of the project – I fell in love with the book years ago.


They Heard Him Shout Allahu Akbar is showing as part of Foresight films. Available to stream on All 4

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