Muhammad Bilal (WRITER, DIRECTOR, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)
Muhammad is a recent graduate of the MFA film program at The City College of New York in Harlem. Muhammad has also studied film and acting at The New York Film Academy, New York University, Chicago Filmmakers and The Theatre School at DePaul University. He made his directorial debut with the short film SAPO, which opened to great reviews at the Improfilm Festival in 2019 at the IFP. He is currently in post-production with his most recent short film, The Blue Cave, scheduled to screen at over a dozen festivals including Cityvisions in June, 2020.
Sadiya Bilal (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)
Sadiya born and raised in Chicago; she moved to NYC in 2005 to continue her studies as an educator. As current NYC teacher, she is a champion of the arts and consistently encourages her students, family, friends and colleagues to use the arts to broaden their horizons and bring social change. This maxim is what guided Sadiya to be a part of this film from its inception. The belief that "The Blue Cave" would be and is magical was all the impetus Sadiya needed to come on board as an executive producer.
Christopher Lind (CINEMATOGRAPHER)
Christopher Lind, 28, is a professional cinematographer, born and raised in New Jersey. With more than 7 years in the field, Chris has worked on countless Narrative features and Short films that have screened in festivals around the world; shot and produced content for high end brands & celebrity clients; traveled with Spartan races to the mountains of Greece & Sweden; and so much more. With additional backgrounds in Lighting & Editing; and a double major graduate of William Patterson University, Christopher is a multi-talented filmmaker with a passion for cinematic storytelling.
Carlos Slusher, Jr. (STEADICAM OPERATOR)
Carlos was intrigued by film at a very young age. It wasn't until the age of 24 when that he picked up a camera and decided to attempt to make films. Carlos does not consider himself to be an expert or a novice, he considers himself a student of film (cinema). To him, the true artist does not stop learning nor does he stop creating. One of his biggest loves for film is bringing creatives together to build one motion picture. Having the best for that film and creating that moment with them.
Alejandro Hurtarte (GAFFER)
Originally from North Bergen, NJ (Across from NYC.) Alejandro studied Film & Video at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, graduating in 2018. While at Drexel, Alejandro worked on numerous projects, most as either a grip or a gaffer. One of his proudest achievements is to have been a writer, a gaffer, and a director on the ninth episode of Drexel’s student-produced comedy series “Off Campus.”
After graduating, Alejandro interned on a Brazilian baking show and at a Be Electric Studios, until eventually working as grip and electrician tech at KM Rentals in Brooklyn and as a rental technician at Unique Photo in Fairfield, NJ.
Eileen McQueen (EDITOR)
Eileen McQueen is filmmaker and all around content creator, with a variety of experience in narrative, music, fashion and branding video projects, proficient in Adobe Premier CC suite. She is creative and focused with strong storytelling skills and additional experience in sound and music editing/ composing, basic color correction, basic motion graphics and green screen compositing.
Kevin Best (ASSOCIATE PRODUCER)
Kevin Richard Best is a New York native who received his Bachelor of Arts, graduating from Hofstra University. Some of Kevin’s Film/TV credits include Danny’s House (Viceland), Interface (Web-series), and Our Love. His theater credits include One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Synapse Theater), Trial of a Man Who Says the ‘N’ Word (Afrikan Women’s Repertory) and Stillness of July (Hudson Guild Theater). Kevin is also the 2019 Validate Yourself Film Festival monologue champion. He is looking forward to more great projects in the future.
Justin Filpes (ASSOCIATE PRODUCER, KEY GRIP)
Justin Filpes is an independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. He was born and raised in Miami, Florida and studied philosophy at NYU prior to attending CCNY, where he first met the writer/director Muhammad Bilal.
Tomas Greer (ASSOCIATE PRODUCER)
Tomás J. Greer, born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, is a 2016 Broadcast Communications graduate of The Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania . Along with being an avid cinematographer, Tomás is also a member of Team USA, as a fighter on the US National Karate team. Post grad, Greer had a short stint in The Mount St. Mary’s University (LA) MFA film program. Ultimately, Greer decided to transfer back home to the city he loves, to complete his MFA at the City College of New York. Greer’s time in undergrad was spent as a dual-sport athlete, as well as an apprentice to director Neal Dhand (MFA).
Al Tavarez (PRODUCER)
Al is a training and working actor from New Jersey. Has countless film credits as an actor; he, too, has produced several short films included The Blue Cave, Scorned and SAPO.
Kat Holm (2nd ASSISTANT DIRECTOR)
Kat Holm is an assistant director and director of photography living on Long Island and originally from central Massachusetts. She is a woman of many hats, using her knowledge of the different areas of film to keep things running smoothly on set. In addition to freelance film work, Kat is also a current senior in the Bachelor of Science Film/Television program at Hofstra University as well as a professional videographer and editor for Hofstra’s University Relations department.
Maxwell di Paolo (SOUND RECORDIST)
Maxwell di Paolo is a producer, writer, and sound person based in New York City. He has worked on a variety of narrative productions, several that have been featured in prominent film festivals such as NYFF, as well as commercials for top companies such as Google and Ace Hotels. He is also a cinephile, who attends repertoire screenings whenever his work allows. If you’d like to reach out to him, his email address is mail to:firstname.lastname@example.org
Philip Babich (1st AC)
Philip is a New York/New Jersey based cinematographer and first AC. He has more than four years of experience working on professional music video, shorts and feature films and commercials.
Susan Mei (1st AC)
Susan Mei started filmmaking as an assistant editor for Bluegrass documentary Last of the Breed: The Dave Evans Story. She has since participated in web and television commercials for clients, such as Cosmopolitan Magazine, Ford, Colgate, U.S. Marine Corps, and Home Depot. A Way Back Home is Susan’s directorial debut in fiction film, exploring a Western-Oriental relationship through a Chinese American’s perspective.
Melissa Gagliardi (2nd AC)
Melissa is an experienced filmmaker who has worked on various professional films.
Hugo Salazar Jr. (FIGHT COORDINATOR)
Hugo Salazar Jr. is known for his work on Betty en NY (2019), Paraiso Travel (2018) and Pandaora's Box: Unleasing Evil (2016). He has amassed several years of wonderful experiences as an actor, producer, director, and stunt man.
His TV/Film appearances include Telemundo, NBC, ESPN, ABCNEWS, The Travel Channel, the Investigation Discovery Network, & the Bollywood market. Off-Broadway work and Film Festival exposure with Emmy & Tony Award Winners.
His production company, Salazar Productions has done Live Event Production, Hosting, and Event Management for clients such as Verizon, ESPN, The Food Network, and Bank of America.
Waley Wang (GAFFER)
Waley Wang is a NYC based, free lance gaffer with more than 4 years of paid, professional experience.
Lauren Banjo (SOUND RECORDIST)
Lauren Banjo has been fascinated with audio all her life -- from her first piano lesson at the age of six, to operating the PA and recording demos for her dumb little 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 film industry.
Jamar “Knowlej Ra” Hector (ASSOCIATE PRODUCER)
Louisiana-Native lyricist, producer, songwriter, and engineer who has found a home in Brooklyn, New York. From aggressive flows to smooth grooves, yet remaining conscious to the vitality of lyricism; Knowlej Ra is open-minded in exploring versatility to any end that will compliment his music and art.
Knowlej Ra was the first graduate of Arkansas Baptist College’s Music Business Program, a top graduate and the recipient of the prestigious, “Advanced Achiever” Award, at Full Sail University, and has made his mark as a music engineer working with legendary artists such as: Talib Kweli, Pete Rock, Christian Scott, Ghostface Killah, Erykah Badu, and others.
Committed to excellence, Knowlej Ra shares his gifts with any parts of the world that welcomes unprecedented heart and vision.
Sarah Diaz (SCRIPT SUPERVISOR)
Sarah Diaz is a Bronx native and former student of the film's director, Muhammad Bilal. She has been into film and the arts since she was a child. She attended Hunter College where she learned first hand the importance of the arts in education.
She enjoyed working on the Blue Cave with the director Muhammad Bilal and his crew because it represents overcoming struggle and triumphing even in the most challenging circumstances, and engaging in your imagination and creative influences while you do it.
Emily Marvin (MAKE UP ARTIST & HAIR STYLIST)
Emily Marvin is a professionally certified Makeup Artist and licensed New York State cosmetologist based in New York City, specializing in beauty, fashion, special effects and hair styling.
Emily has worked with an array of photographers and professionals including film & TV, music videos, wedding shows and conferences, photo shoots and retail. Her work has been featured in a Facebook series, film & TV shows and music videos.
Emily is currently working as a Freelance Makeup Artist with GlamSquad while she continues to build her freelancing business and looks forward to working with you on your next project.
Eriq Ortiz (PRODUCTION ASSISTANT)
Eriq Ortiz is an undergraduate film student at The City College of New York. He has written, produced and directed numerous student films, some of which have screened at festivals.