BURLINGTON — For University of Vermont student Jisan Haque, filmmaking is an artistic medium that illuminates his life.
But the 21-year-old also knows that a passion taken too far, like a search for perfection on film, can lead to a darkened path.
Haque has been in front of and behind cameras ever since he was kid. As a soon-to-be graduate, he released his second feature film, “The Hollywood Dream,” at the end of July.
In a recent chat with Vermont News & Media, Haque traced his love of film back to when he was a child, uploading reenactments of major movie scenes online.
“I’ve always watched movies as a kid, and I remember dressing up as the characters in some films and acting out famous scenes. When I was around 10 or 12, I started making videos with friends and posted them on YouTube,” Haque said.
The ball started rolling from there. “The more videos we made, the more I fell in love with moviemaking. These were, however, just fun videos, like skits, etc. I knew I wanted to grow up, study filmmaking and make more serious movies that matter,” he said.
While growing up, he also was exposed to world cinema. “And I realized Hollywood is so much more about glamour. Bengali movies or foreign language films touch a different chord with you. They are more about the story, emotions and a message. I like that better,” Haque said, smiling.
As such, Haque confesses he is more inclined personally toward Bollywood or Bengali cinema. He hopes to go back to Bangladesh, “albeit temporarily, to make a project there,” he said.
The art of making cinema
Cut to July 2022: Haque was super pumped about the release of his project at the end of July.
“The Hollywood Dream” is about a film student who becomes obsessed with his craft. The fictional story, he said, comes from his own personal struggles as a young filmmaker.
“Last year, I released my first feature film, ‘Evol,’ which is a love story about high schoolers entering college. After filming, I was editing it for over a year. I had become so obsessed with perfecting every scene, every mood that I forgot what the project was doing to me,” he said. “Artists usually are like that. In the goal to attain perfection, they don’t realize what their craft can do to their mental health. I feel it’s a subject rarely discussed. ‘The Hollywood Dream’ is just an exaggerated version of what I went through last year. The message is simple — people shouldn’t cross a limit while chasing their dreams.”
Another project that is close to Haque’s heart is “Title IX.” It is a short film he made in December for his peers at UVM.
The film deals with the aftermath of a sexual assault on campus.
“We wanted to highlight how administrations deal with such incidents,” Haque said. “Help groups often lack the sense of responsibility while talking to survivors. We wanted to highlight solutions that these administrations can come up with in order to prevent assaults.”
The Bangla connection
Haque’s family is from Bangladesh. To be specific, his parents come from a small village in Rajshahi city. Before he was born, his parents moved out of the country and lived in Canada for some time. They later traveled to the U.S. and stayed in Indianapolis for a few months. Haque was born in Indiana.
The final stop for the Haques was Vermont. They moved to Essex, a neighborhood called Meadows Edge, in 2001. For Haque, the place was instantly “home,” and in 2019, he graduated from Essex High School.
What’s on tap for the young filmmaker?
So what’s next for Haque?
“By next year, I am looking to do internships with film companies. [Soon,] I graduate with my degree in film. Just looking to get my foot in the door, I guess,” he said.
Watch “The Hollywood Dream” trailer on YouTube at youtu.be/rQwFfrV3qaE.