Exclusive Interview with Director/Writer of “The Answer” Iqbal Ahmed

High Octane Pictures will offer The Answer, an exhilarating new sci-fi thriller from Iqbal Ahmed, this July.

Premiering on VOD 7/11, The Answer tells of an introverted young man that – after an attack- must follow clues left by his dead parents in order to figure out who is after him – and who he really is. Austin Hébert, Alexis Carra, and David S. Lee star.

-PH: How did you get into filmmaking, Iqbal?

-Iqbal: I came to film really circuitously. I went from medicine to finance to music and then finally to film. Every stage of my life brought me to where I am today as a filmmaker.
Now, it’s also really fun to draw from those past experiences in the work I do today.

-PH: Was science-fiction always the go-to genre for you?

-Iqbal: I’ve always loved sci-fi. It’s always been the one genre that’s been able to capture my imagination. I love the futurism of it. But I also love the relate-ability of it. The best sci-fi films show you new worlds you’ve never seen, but they also make you look inwards to ponder the plight of humanity.
Let’s face it, they’re fun!

-PH: Is this the first major film you’ve done? If so, did you think it’d be easier or harder than what it was?

-Iqbal: Yes, this was my first feature film. I was prepared for it to be the toughest thing I’d ever done, but it might’ve been even HARDER!
There is so much to consider, so much juggling. Writing the script, prepping the shoot, directing. Balancing performances with action. Telling the visual story. Making it interesting. Considering your audience.
You have to wear so many hats. But it’s my favorite thing in the world to do. Now I just hope everyone has as much fun watching the movie as I had making it!

-PH: Give the readers an idea of how long it’s taken the film to reach the screen? I imagine it’s been a while since the film was scripted?

-Iqbal: It’s definitely taken a few years. After writing the script it took me about a year to find the financing. Then after shooting principal photography, it took a while to finish post production. And then afterwards it’s been about securing distribution and getting it out to audiences. So right now, we are at the end of a really long journey where the audience actually gets to see the finished product.

-PH: Is the completed film your exact, original vision? No compromises?

-Iqbal: You know, I was pretty lucky to be able to direct this film the way I wanted. Of course every director wishes he or she had larger budget, but I really think we maximized everything we could on this film. I think audiences are going to be drawn into the story and then hopefully thrilled by the action sequences. Budget definitely had an impact, but at the end of the day, I’m excited that this movie represents so much of what was in my head.

-PH: Was the film inspired by a real-life case?

-Iqbal: No, but I DO think it’s relatable. It was important to me to make a story that felt universal. And that comes from grounding a movie in reality.

-PH: Why was High Octane Pictures the right home for the film?

High Octane Pictures always approached this movie with incredible enthusiasm. They’ve been partners the whole way. As a director you’re really looking for people to believe in a project, and I’ve been lucky to find them.

-PH: Can you tell us what’s next for you?

-Iqbal: I’ve been really busy directing commercials and other short films lately. But I hope to direct a new feature next year. It will definitely be a genre movie!

We would like to thank Iqbal for taking the time to answer these questions. Be sure to check out “The Answer” premiering on VOD July 11th!

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