PERDIDO: A Short Film To Help Black Men Stop Suffering in Silence
PERDIDO: A Short Film To Help Black Men Stop Suffering in Silence
After suppressed memories of childhood trauma are triggered by a deadly run-in with police, Amir Rashad begins to suffer from PTSD. As his condition worsens, he must decide to seek treatment and confront his past or allow the stigma of mental health to keep him from regaining control of his life.
Mission StatementAs an African American man, I have suffered from the stigma of mental illness. I, too, have experienced PTSD from past trauma that was often triggered by inescapable images of police brutality. This film will encapsulate this issue and the journey of a Black man to seek treatment despite the stigma.
About The Project
Sadly, too often, the stigma around mental health prevents people who need help from seeking it. --Michelle Obama
“Boys don’t cry! Stop acting like a girl."
“Man up and stop acting like a female."
"Real men, dont cry! Sissies and girls do!"
These were comments that I often heard as a young boy. They shaped the way I viewed masculinity and the way I dealt with my emotions. Expressing any emotions of sadness and pain went against ideals of manhood in both my family and community. Moreover, there was an even greater stigma on mental health and mental therapy, especially for boys and men. Consequently, I learned to hide my tears in public and suffer any emotional distress in silence.
As a child and teenager, I was victim of child abuse and a constant target of gang violence. Because I associated mental illness and crying with weakness, I never told anyone outside of my home about the abuse. The abuse was so intense that I considered suicide to be a more viable and masculine option than seeking help or unpacking my mental state to a teacher or therapist. Up until my late thirties, I neglected my mental health and kept my anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide a secret.
However, during the pandemic, all of the truama I suppressed my entire life was triggered when I became inundated with images of Black men being brutalized by police. I experienced PTSD-like symptoms every time I heard George Floyd’s name on the news or saw footage of him dying. I even began to have flashbacks of the trauma I experienced as a child.
In the midst of a national lockdown during the pandemic, I could no longer simply "man up" or ignore my mental health. My life was becoming so dysfunctional that I could no longer hide it. I had to make the hardest decision of my life: I had to seek mental health treatment.
This meant confronting a painful past and redefining what masculinity really meant to me. It was at this point that I really began to HEAL! I decided that I should share my story and show Black men how rewarding mental health treatment can be. This is the inspiration for this film: Removing the stigma of mental health and showing BLACK men they don’t have to suffer in silence.
Kenya Downs reported, in her article for PBS, that the death of Philando Castile, an African American man shot four times by a Minnesota police officer, was streamed on Facebook 5 million times. Footage of Castile gasping for air, as he slowly dies in front of his girlfriend and 4-year-old daughter, was repeatedly played on major news networks across the nation.
These inescapable images of unarmed African Americans being shot by police, combined with experiences of racism, often cause long-term mental health effects. For black men, who believe that therapy goes against traditional masculinity ideals, the impact of the stigma around mental illness and treatment is even greater.
Mental health illness has become a national epidemic in our country. It is time we shedd more light on this issue and change the way Black men, and the world, view and prioritize mental health. There is no other medium that bears the transformative power of film.
PERDIDO (which means lost in Spanish) is a film about AMIR RASHAD, an African American man who reluctantly seeks therapy when suppressed memories from his past are triggered after a tragic run-in with police. After this event, Amir begins to have flashbacks and nightmares that force him to re-experience traumatic memories from his past.
Because of the stigma that Amir places on mental illness and treatment, he opts to suffer in silence and avoid anything that triggers those memories. But as news reports and protests centered on police brutality become impossible to avoid, the mental anguish takes a tremendous toll on his overall health. Begrudgingly, Amir turns to therapy to unpack it all, and begin his journey of healing.
Courtesy of The Hate U Give (2018)
Courtesy of Do The Right Thing (1989)
Courtesy of Antwone Fischer (2002)
Courtesy of The Blue Cave (2021)
Courtesy of Antwone Fischer (2002)
Filmmaking is a suprisingly pricey journey and we need your support to complete it. As independent filmmakers, we do not have tremendous resources, but we are committed to producing a high quality film while providing fair compensation to our cast and crew members.
Here's where your $$$ is going:
Founder, Bilal World Entertainment
“I was taught as a young boy that being a man meant to always handle your emotions alone. Many Black men still hold this unhealthy belief, and they continue to suffer in silence as they carry around overwhelming emotional baggage for years. This is the biggest motivation behind this film: we want to raise awareness on these very issues and remove the stigma so more Black men can begin to seek help.”
–Muhammad Bilal, Founder and Creative Director of Bilal World Entertainment.
Muhammad is also the writer and director of “The Blue Cave” (which has received 28 Official Film Festival Selections and 10 awards in 2021 alone).
Founder, Black Men Heal
"Black Men Heal is pleased to partner with Bilal World Entertainment for the short film Perdido. Together we share a passion for the crucial mission to educate and advocate for the importance of Mental Health in Black and Brown communities, and to eliminate stigma through public awareness and the normalization of seeking treatment.”
–Tasnim Sulaiman, Tasnim Sulaiman, Founder of Black Men Heal and Licensed Professional Counselor, and Marriage & Family Therapist.
Bilal World Entertainment Logo and mission
Please share our story and campaign within your own social media, workplaces, friend groups & families. We will be truly grateful as we cannot do this without you! Here are some examples of captions or posts to further our mission. Feel free to copy and paste on Instagram and/or Facebook!
I'm so excited to see the short film PERDIDO @bilalworldentertainment, by filmmaker Muhammad Bilal @the_blue_cave_ This film is about breaking the stigma of mental illness among Black men, it also encourages them to seek therapy and stop suffering in silence. Please support them on @seedandspark: LINK
I just discovered PERDIDO @Bilal World Entertainment, a short film being campaigned by an amazing Black filmmaker, Muhammad Bilal. You've got to support this short film! It will help break the stigma of mental health and mental illness, especially among Black men. Join them on @seedandspark: LINK
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About This Team
MUHAMMAD BILAL, Writer/Director/Producer: Muhammad Bilal is former teacher and principal who worked in public schools for 17 years. After completing his MFA in filmmaking at The City College of New York in June of 2020, he founded his own production company - Bilal World Entertainment. He is the writer, director and producer of The Blue Cave, a short film which has won 10 awards and has been accepted into more than 30 festivals, worlwide.
He, too, is the writer and director of SAPO, a short film that will be released in October, 2021. Muhammad is an advocate of mental health and greater mental health access for all. He is also the writer, director and executive producer for Perdido.
DIONNA EL, Producer: Dionna has voluunteered at many community based organaizations, in some of the most vuluerable areas in Central Indiana, working to create impact for change. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for many years in community impact, organazation and grant management. Dionna maintains her role at United Way of Central Indiana in Indianapolis, Indiana while producing films for Bilal World Entertainment.
SADIYA BILAL, Producer: Sadiya is an NYC educator and an experience grant writer. She has been writing grants and producing films for Muhammad Bilal for 2 years now. She has several credits under her belt. Her passion is for producing films for change and advocating for mental health in disadvantaged communities.
TY STONE, Director of Photography: Ty is a self taught colorist and cinematographer with over a decade of experience. He has more than 20 credits under his belt and loves to take on project that address social issues and social justice.
ALEXA BORDEN, Composer:
Alexa L. Borden is an L.A.-based composer from Philadelphia, PA. She attended both Berklee College of Music and Moravian College for her bachelors degree in Music Composition, and holds an MFA in Music Composition for the Screen from Columbia College Chicago. In addition to her solo work, Alexa also frequently collaborates on projects with fellow film composer, Connor Cook.
Alexa has used her love of classic rock music and her training in both classical and modern piano, harpsichord, and voice to compose music for a wide variety of projects, including short and feature films, musicals, and video games spanning many genres and styles.
KEITH CROCKET, Editor: Keith is a New York University trained filmmaker with over 25 years of editing experience. He has over 35 credits as an editor on feature and short films, both independent and studio. In his spare time, he simply likes to fly his plane across country.
EMAD AL KHATEEB, VFX Artist: Emad has over 7 years of experience in the design field, ranging from graphics, illustrations, photo retouching, VFX, compositing, motion graphics, designing and responsive websites. He has worked on multiple commercials and films, union and non-union, as a VFX Artist and/or Graphic Designer, as well as a DIT on-set. Emad has a high technical skills in handling files and delivering projects in the proper format required.
LAUREN BANJO, Sound Recordist: Lauren Banjo has been fascinated with audio her entire life — from her first piano lesson at the age of six, to operating the PA and recording demos for punk bands in high school, to graduating with a Bachelors of Music in Music Technology at New York University, to launching her career in the audio world. Lauren has over 35 professional credits as a sound recordist.