Why Are Filmmakers Afraid To Make Sci-Fi? — Aleem Hossain

Film Courage: How do you finish a screenplay? It seems like so many people have these great ideas and “Yeah I’m going to get right to it!” and they tell everybody about it but then months go by, they have a blockage…I know you’ve said possibly knowing the ending?

Aleem Hossain, filmmaker and AR/VR creator, assistant professor in media arts and culture at Occidental College: I think it’s hard to finish a screenplay, I really do. I think it’s hard to write. I don’t know. So many different writers and filmmakers, people I went to school with, people I’ve met in the industry and honestly when you ask them candidly, I haven’t heard any of them tell me it’s easy to finish the screenplay. For me AFTER WE LEAVE was a different process. I knew…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


Occidental College



AFTER WE LEAVE by Aleem Hossain


I’m a film writer/director, virtual reality creator, and professor.  

I grew up in a Connecticut town so small that Pizza Hut would not deliver there until 1997… but my family was very diverse and international. My father is a Muslim from Bangladesh who immigrated to the US. My mother was born and raised in Connecticut in a Roman Catholic family with roots in Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, and France. I grew up watching baseball and Bollywood, eating curry under a Christmas tree, and waiting for the day when Oreos would no longer use lard as an ingredient… also not until 1997! This multi-cultural mashup has shaped me as an artist.

Most recently, I wrote and directed AFTER WE LEAVE, a gritty sci-fi drama feature film won Best Feature Film at SCI FI LONDON in May 2019 and will soon be released theatrically in the United States.

I was selected for the initial Oculus Launchpad program, a VR incubator run by Facebook/Oculus, where I began developing my ongoing documentary VR series, I NEVER TOLD YOU.

I was an artist-in-residence at the 2017 VR Action Lab where I created NO EASY ANSWERS, a VR anti-bullying project, in collaboration with Google, Harmony Labs, and Screenwriters Colony. It has been translated into several languages and is used by Google Daydream in schools around the world.

I’m currently developing YOU ARE FOREVER, YOU ARE EVERYONE, an interactive narrative sci-fi VR experience with the support of the Tribeca Film Institute.

I am also the ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF DIGITAL STORYTELLING at OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE in Los Angeles where my teaching and research are focused on expanding how we tell stories and who gets to tell them.



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