Safi Jafri is a young, 20 year old filmmaker born in Houston, TX and raised in San Diego, California. Growing up brown, Muslim, and gay provided him a unique insight into the world that has always translated cinematically. Whether it be visual art, music, or photography, Safi has always found a marriage between every discipline he enjoys and film. He began truly delving into his film passions within the latter half of high school and has since earned himself multiple selections and awards for his very first short film fresh out of high school: All Too Well.
For Safi, storytelling has been foundational in the way he thinks and expresses himself to others. In his mind, writing and directing is not only a practice in self-reflection but also a practice in empathy. It is the marriage of the two that make films worth making. He currently is a student at SFSU’s film school and hopes to transfer to school at USC or Chapman come Fall 2021.
I was inspired to write this film while still in the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus as its youngest member in its entire history. Created and composed by Julian Hornik, “75 Cents” was one musical movement within an entire body of work titled “@queerz” that chronicled the stories of queer youth across the country.
As a queer member of Generation Z, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly visceral emotions while rehearsing such music… so I began writing. Due to COVID-19, the Spring 2020 show was cancelled and so was my life in San Francisco. However, the manuscript was still in my laptop and my desire to tell such a story never escaped.
One of the most notable parts of this film is the fact that behind the camera is an <entirely queer crew> that worked tirelessly to tell this story. Along with our very limited resources, we had an AirBnB that may have overlooked the gorgeous San Diego harbor but also technically wasn’t an “AirBnB” (according to the owners). We had a loud, cramped, and bumpy bus riding in circles in the heart of downtown San Diego’s main streets and Gaslamp Quarter for hours on end. On top of that: we had a global pandemic that was undergoing a post-New Years peak… but we still had a story to tell and a movie that needed to be made.
Originally meant to be my college transfer application visual supplement, 75 Cents turned into a film that I knew in my heart had to be released to the world. With the blessing and support of my now former chorus, the story originally meant for the stage of the SF Gay Men’s Chorus now lives on to hopefully see the light of the silver screen.
My name is Safi Jafri. I hope this film evokes the same emotion that its musical inspiration evoked within me. This short is just one song in the grand album that is the queer experience…