Suridh ‘Shaz’ Hassan worked his way up from the bottom rungs of the UK media industry via national broadcasters ITV and BBC, and onto film sets before becoming a video paparazzo (which didn’t go well…) then a documentary filmmaker and author (which went much better!).
As a creator, he has been deeply influenced by his multicultural upbringing in North London. With a missing Indonesian-Muslim father, he was raised by his single mum, Swedish-Jewish grandma and Bengali-Indian grandpa. He is inspired by themes of cultural identity, migration and movement as well as aspects of the urban environment while forever championing creativity and social change through his work and ideas.
For the past 10 years Shaz has split his time between Europe and Asia directing commercials and and award-winning documentaries, including SOKA AFRIKA which won best picture at the Kicking & Screening Festival in New York and was shortlisted for Best Documentary at the One World Media Awards.
His work has also appeared on TV, in cinemas, museums and galleries worldwide while he has been featured in Bloomberg, Complex, the Economist, the Guardian and Wired, amongst others.
Shaz, along with his long-term creative partner Ryo Sanada, is a best-selling author of the STICKERBOMB book series which has become a cult platform for urban artists to publish their work as peelable stickers.
The pair have sold nearly 250,000 copies globally in addition to other titles including RACKGAKI and GRAFFITI ASIA.
Swipe, swipe, swipe, double tap, like, swipe, double tap, like. How many times a day do you do that? We’re in a trance and can’t escape. Add a layer of collapsing ecosystems, extinction, migrant crisis, polarising societies, screwy politics and you have to admit we’re living in mad times.
I met artist EZRA DICKINSON soon after I moved to SEATTLE and it was clear we needed to collaborate on something. A film, a performance, an exhibition – something. Mentally I was in a strange place, coming out of living in a corporate bubble and running a pseudo creative corporate business, I needed to get back to what I know love. Film, art, expressions, ideas.
I’d love to say I woke up one morning and all my emotions about everything poured out of me and I wrote SODO EXPRESS, but i’d be lying. The truth is, I can’t pinpoint where the concept came from, but our dependance on tech, social media and the way it lends itself to anxiety, mental health issues and behaviour modification is something clear to see and that something needs exploration.
People are simply distracted (I know I am) and we’re distracted by everyone else. Our need to be part of a community and feel accepted is being taken advantage of by unseen algorithms. Technology has financialized every part of our daily life and as a species we haven’t had to time to adjust to these changes.
SODO EXPRESS is my exploration of this (on a low budget). The start of the film shows everyday life for most artists I know – riding the bus or the train, putting up work, checking if it’s received well online – it’s the simple existence most artists live and breath on the journey to success. Our characters sees a tool in tech and social media but the reliance and the relationship evolves into something darker – a journey of unexpected occurrences, at times intense stillness, other times explosive movement. With animation to accent the film and take us into another realm, SODO EXPRESS is a unique film that has little comparison to anything else out there.