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Life & Work with Sulayman Tahir

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sulayman Tahir.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. I started out shooting videos in my neighborhood then I dropped out of high school to pursue filmmaking full time. After eight years of freelance videography, filming my first feature film and owning a photo studio, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue film. It took a couple of years and a few major setbacks but I finally found my lane in this film thing.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
My primary struggle came from losing my father at 18, prior to that he was the primary breadwinner in my family but when he passed, I had to go out here on my own and make my own way. I filmed in every dangerous neighborhood in America, I slept in cars, got cheated out of money and lied to multiple times. But it was all a learning experience and made me who I am today. I never had a job at any point in my ten years journey so I always lived off film but I think that allowed me to maintain my drive. I never got comfortable and even now having found some level of success, it’s never enough.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a writer, producer and director. I’m most known as a film and music video director but behind the scenes, I fund films and piece them together as well as write them. I was also head of development at an independent production company. I’m most proud of my upcoming film Phels High and I believe what sets me apart from others is my diversity and drive. I’m highly adaptable in many different environments due to coming from Philadelphia and the wide range of clients I’ve dealt with from the high end to the low end. My vision and my attention to detail also give me an edge. I’ve truly studied and taught myself to understand film not only as an art form or science but a language.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
The most important lesson I’ve learned is to persevere. It comes across cliche but in my opinion there’s no other true path to success unless you can genuinely stick through any challenge and push through. I’ve fell out with friends, family and everything in between but I never let anything get in between me and my goals. Most times, it worked in my favor sometimes it didn’t but I always found a way. The other important lesson I’ve learned is that life is about people, we do our best to keep genuine people around us but sometimes life doesn’t care about your intentions and things go left but if it’s real and your heart is in it, y’all will always bounce back.

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IG: @Guerrillactin

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