With an interest in family dynamics, Pakistani-American filmmaker Ahab Mullick's work deals with surrogate relationships, faith and seeking purpose in life. His latest film, Two of Us, features non-binary designer Aria Puga and Aurain Godinez H. exploring a frosty, rural landscape on foot in minimalist white garments by YÜRA. SHOWstudo spoke to Mullick over email about his path into storytelling, expressing the non-binary experience through film, and being moved by fashion.
Violet Conroy: How did you first get into filmmaking?
Ahab Mullick: Great question. Perhaps by seeing the world through my father's eyes. I remember watching movies with him as a child and knowing instantly that I wanted to film things. Writing came separately. I fell in love with language as a kid and loved writing short fiction. It wasn't until I was 15 years old when the potential merging of these two different interests sort of crystallised in my mind and I saw writing and directing as something I could do in tandem. For as long as I can recall, I have always been interested in storytelling. But it wasn't until I was 16 or so when I began screenwriting and found that film had the greatest capacity for examining the characters I wrote.
VC: How did you come up with the concept for this film?
AM: I had a number of conversations with Aria Puga, the creative director at YÜRA, about where they were personally when they were designing and manufacturing the kilt and what sort of personal discoveries they'd had recently. We talked at length about their experience as non-binary and how they were growing comfortable with their inherent dualism. I thought examining that and remaining personal to their experience would be truthful and good to go off of.
VC: Why did you choose to shoot on film?
AM: Interestingly enough, almost all of what you're seeing in the film was digital!
VC: Tell me about the fashion in this film?
AM: The kilts presented in the film were made by YÜRA, a fashion brand based in NYC – spearheaded by emerging designer Aria Puga. According to Aria, the kilts are designed to veil identity. They were made late last year around the time Aria declared that they were non-binary. The kilts are made of 100% bull denim cotton and are extremely comfortable and inexplicably beautiful in person. They moved me deeply.