Here are a few of the pieces that make up the Four Broken Hearts storyworld. Some of them are available, forever and globally, on the project's website. Others were ephemeral and local, never to be relived or found again, just 'like life itself'- which, not coincidentally, constitutes the title of my accompanying dissertation that was published in the Journal of Media Practice (Routledge: London).
Music in 'Kirchiyaan' docu-short: Ferdinand (ft. Urzula Amen) by Stimming.
Brief descriptions of the form and story are provided below.
For more information on the media theory underlying the project, check out the companion academic paper (submitted in full as a writing sample). The project and paper together constituted Babar's thesis project at Parsons School of Design in New York where he received his MFA in Design and Technology on a Fulbright scholarship.
The story of FBH is being told by taking each of the classic elements of fiction – character, setting, exposition, climax and denouement – and bringing them ‘to life’ in the medium that conveys them to the highest degree of mimesis: characters are built and explored through social media, setting is experienced through location-based storytelling, the backstory is fleshed out using film and the climax is performed as an immersive drama. By taking advantage of what each medium does best while complementing the other mediums, FBH is presented in the form of a rich transmedia experience that allows audiences to explore the storyworld across many different platforms while still tying it all together within a cohesive narrative.
What happens when you are forced to face a lover who deserted you twelve years ago? This is the dilemma Pakistani artist Zayn found himself last Fall when he returned to New York for the first time since graduating from art school in 2002. He is accompanied by his wife Lisa, an American photojournalist, who had spent the last few years in Pakistan covering the post-9/11 landscape. Upon her return to New York, Lisa signs a major book deal with heavyweight publisher Aaron but there is one big problem: Aaron is married to Maha, Zayn’s classmate from art school and also his first love. Oblivious to their spouses’ romantic past, Lisa and Aaron make plans for a couples dinner and bring in Zayn and Maha to celebrate. However, the thin veneer of celebration is quickly torn apart by mental and emotional warfare when the painful secrets, repressed feelings, resentment and betrayal simmering over a decade start revealing themselves. In an evening that will change everything they know about each other and the true impact of their choices, all four will have to confront the reality of their lives and relationships, and decide what they are willing- and not willing- to give up for love.
Assol Karim as LISA
Brennan Lowery as ZAYN
Gabriela Bonomo as MAHA
Joe Loper as AARON
Creator, Director and Storyteller: Babar Suleman
Director of Photography, Art Director, Audio Producer: Alex Tosti
Production Designer, Technologist: Lucy Matchett
Editor, Post-Production: Elia Villa
Storyboard Artist: Daniel Mastretta
Voiceover Artist, Make-up, Understudy: Stephanie Burgess
Tech Support: Jiaqi Liu
Calligraphy Design for 'Kirchiyaan': Nour Chamoun
Original Artwork for 'Kirchiyaan': Ambreen Zia
App Prototype Design: Meka Montanez
& Nicholas Fortugno