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Djinn (DVD Review)

5 Feb, 2009 By: John Latchem

Street 2/10/09
Victory Multimedia
$28.98 DVD, $39.98 Blu-ray
Not rated.
Stars Shahin Sean Solimon, Navid Negahban.

Budding filmmakers can learn a lot from Djinn, which is practically a do-it-yourself video on how to make and distribute a movie.

Djinn was created by indie filmmaker Shahin Sean Solimon, who stars as Imad, who must cross a vast desert to find his lover after she is snatched from their dreams by an evil genie (Navid Negahban). The fable is based on the ancient stories from One Thousand and One Nights (the word "djinn" is derived from the Arabic word for genie), which Solimon said he learned from his Persian father in the grand tradition of generational oral storytelling.

After runs on Time Warner and Comcast on-demand feeds, the film finally makes its way to DVD and Blu-ray.

Solimon has created a very visual film, filled with ambitious special effects that effectively demonstrate the wide range of computer functionality available to any level of filmmaking these days. Solimon imbues this visual narrative with details mined from what could be assumed to be his pop-culture influences. Early scenes of Imad and his true love, Amina, frolicking in the fields bring to mind similar scenes from Gladiator, while Imad’s encounter at a cave with an evil version of himself comes straight from The Empire Strikes Back.

Solimon’s message is that anyone can make a movie. All they need is access to a camera and a good computer. Just to drive home this thesis, the home video includes “The 7 Minute Film School” (which clocks in at just over eight minutes), in which Solimon covers basic fundamentals of filmmaking, from writing to directing to editing.

This featurette also serves somewhat as a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of Djinn, which serves as the primary example of Solimon’s lesson plan.

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