Writing for Film, and sidestepping the usual.

Nearing completion of my score for Bassam Tariq and Omar Mullick‘s “These Birds Walk, I’m already reflecting on all the wonderful things which have happened since Bassam first took me out to a delicious vegetarian indian lunch in Murray Hill.

The film will be unveiled in the next couple of months at South by South West. (SXSW)


This is a film by a well-known journalist/photographer and his partner filmmaker, both equals in the project, in its creativity and design, which is comprised entirely of footage shot in Pakistan, documentary style, but with no real talking heads, but rather palpable dramatic situations created by this trio of characters being watched over a series of months and created entirely by an old man, a teen and a young runaway boy.

These Birds Walk is at once a testament and revelation of runaway boys in Karachi, and the man who has given his life to giving refuge to them through his namesake creation, The Edhi Foundation. There’s his ambulance driver, and there is Omar, a child who I’ve found myself quite attached to through a multitude of repeated viewings. (I mean, that’s how we DO it.)


I am in love with this film, but moreso, I’m grateful for the gifts bestowed through successful and warm collaboration.  Near the very beginning, Omar and Bassam approached with the idea of being very hands-on in the process. For me, this wasn’t a stretch. The fact is, for a great part of it, we sat there and made this music together.  What was shocking, liberating, and ultimately the best creative catalyst, was their insistence on the music that THEY wanted, not my initial attempts to throw my ‘normal’ voice into it.  It took me a few takes to get it, and then we were off and running.  There are no spinning delays here, no motors, no intense dramatic sweeping overtures or finales.  Thanks to the relationship which developed between the three of us, (as well as nearly 4 pounds of cashews and three gallons of mint tea), the score developed organically. It is nothing but violin, layered, slathered in reverb at times, but simple, with a microscope on the dirty sounds of harmonics and an overly rosined bow on strings.


6 responses to “Writing for Film, and sidestepping the usual.

  1. Can’t wait to see this!

  2. I saw this film this weekend and have to say, you did an AWESOME job. The music was powerful, and most importantly, cathartic.

    • Ahmed, sorry for being so late in replying. Thank you so very much for your kind words. Working on TBW was so wonderful and I’m thrilled that the music had an impact for you. Cheers, Todd

      • Cool,
        I am a documentary filmmaker myself currently working on a film called “UnMosqued” (unmosqued.com) and also a friend of Bassam’s.
        Perhaps we can work together on a project in the future.

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