Tariq Tapa

Degree(s): BA, Rice University, 2003; MFA California Institute of the Arts

VADA Concentration: Film

Rice Graduation Year: 2003

Tariq Tapa was born in New York City. He made his debut feature Zero Bridge in Kashmir over nine months with a cast of only non-professionals and no crew. It premiered at the 2008 Venice Film Festival. The L.A.-based Tapa, who graduated from Rice University with a BA in 2003, then went to CalArts to earn his MFA, and whose short films have screened at the Centre Pompidou and the Museum of Modern Art, received a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Kashmir to make Zero Bridge. The film tells the story of a teenage pickpocket, Dilawar, who plans to escape from both Kashmir and his strict uncle but whose plans are complicated when he forms a bond with a woman whose passport he has stolen. Tapa says that his first job when arriving in Srinagar was to convince the community there that he “was on their side.” He says, “Tempers could flare very quickly because of cultural and political issues [having to do with] traditional and conservative Muslim. We were often mistaken for doing something illicit. Or, they didn‘t understand the kind of movie we were making. They‘d say, ‘Where are all the tiger and the dancing women?‘ I‘d say, ‘Well, it‘s a story about people‘s lives,‘ but the concept of this kind of movie doesn‘t exist over there.” In order to teach the community, including the non-actors who star in the film, about his kind of filmmaking, Tapa showed them DVDs of such movies as The Tree of Wooden Clogs, The Bicycle Thief, and Il Posto. Tapa's film, Zero Bridge, has premiered at the Venice Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, The 8th Festival International du Film de Marrakech, and the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. More about Tariq Tapa and Zero Bridge.