Gulzar Bhat (Bulzar)
Gulzar is a boatman and resident of Dal Lake, Kashmir. Gulzar was discovered through a year-long, embedded casting process in the Dal Lake boatmen community. After Musa worked, ate and slept under the same mosquito net with him, Gulzar was cast. He is available for tours on Dal Lake, just stop by the boat stand at Nehru Park on Dal Lake and ask for him.
Neelofar Hamid (Asifa)
Neelofar is the only professional actress in the film. She has appeared in numerous Kashmiri soap operas and melodramas. She’s also trained in traditional singing and dance. Neelo has worked on several local melodramas and soap operas. She enjoyed using a more naturalistic approach to acting in this film, allowing her to tap into her natural independent spirit .
Afzal Sofi (Afzal)
Afzal Sofi is a journalist in Srinagar, Kashmir. Originally brought on the team to translate Kashmiri dialogue for the film and coach actors, Afzal quickly developed a compelling chemistry with the real life Gulzar. After displaying his comic charm and knack for physical comedy, Afzal was cast in this major supporting role.
Musa Syeed (Writer/Director)
Valley of Saints is Musa’s first feature film. A son of Kashmiri immigrants, Musa had not been to his parents’ homeland for nearly 20 years before making the film. He previously co-produced “Bronx Princess” (Official Selection, Berlinale) and “A Son’s Sacrifice” (Best Documentary Short, Tribeca), with Valley of Saints Cinematographer Yoni Brook.
Mubashir Mohi-ud-din (Composer)
Mubashir (aka “Din”) is the songwriter, singer, and guitarist for the rock n’ roll band Zerobridge, based in New York City. Musa approached Din to compose the score to Valley of Saints in Kashmir. Din’s score captures the country’s breathtaking landscape and the isolation of the film’s characters. “The process of working with some of the most talented musicians in Srinagar augments the feeling that this film has brought worlds together to experience a story of love and hope.”
Nick Bruckman (Producer
Nick previously directed and produced the feature documentary LA AMERICANA, which won best documentary at the New York and Los Angeles Latino Film Festivals and broadcast worldwide. In addition to independent film, Nicholas’ production company People’s Television creates commercial content for brands including IBM, USAID, Nissan, Philips, and Facebook.
Altaf Mehraj (Production Manager)
Altaf is a practicing lawyer and is currently posted at the High Court of Kashmir. During the 2010 curfew, when the film was in production, the courts were closed and Altaf was out of work. A family friend of Musa’s, Altaf knew the difficulties the film’s skeleton crew was facing and came to help out. He quickly became indispensable in all aspects of production. Altaf has been instrumental in leading a number of local social issue campaigns
Yoni Brook (Cinematographer)
Yoni Brook is a director and cinematographer. He is nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his work on Valley of Saints, which he shot with no professional crew under a military curfew in Kashmir. In collaboration with Musa Syeed, Brook has directed three documentary films: BRONX PRINCESS (Berlinale), THE CALLING (PBS), and A SON’S SACRIFICE (Winner, Tribeca Film Festival: Best Documentary Short).