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Pioneer of the Week: Naeem Mahmood

Thought Leader

Pioneer of the Week: Naeem Mahmood

Take a look at the trailer or learn more here. Like 'Brash Young Turks' on Facebook or shout out on Twitter!

Tell us 3 important things we should know about you.

    • I'm an award winning movie director


    • I'm the co-founder and CEO of Trailblazer, a film production company


    • I've recently completed my directorial début feature, the hit coming-of-age crime movie 'Brash Young Turks'


Tell us about your business. How did it start? Did you set it up alone or with a team?

Trailblazer is a fresh and dynamic, London-based film production company committed to making bold, innovative and extraordinary films. We work with young creatives with the aim to raise the bar of what British independent films can accomplish. We encompass the creation and production of feature films, music videos, commercials, corporate and branded content. I set up Trailblazer with my brother Ash after winning the Prince's Trust Millennium Award.

What do you love most about running your own business?

The freedom to be creative and think outside the box. You get to explore what you are and what you can achieve.

Tell us about a challenging experience you’ve faced in the process of starting up your business and how you overcame it.

It was challenging finding finance to kick start the company. However after a lot of perseverance I was able to obtain a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

What advice could you give to other start-ups about starting up in your industry?

REPUTATION IS ALL YOU HAVE. In a business where much of the deal-making and negotiations are verbal, your word and your reputation is everything. The film industry is small. Everyone who is established can easily make contact with anyone else or can get the scoop by making a few calls — there are no secrets. If you are seen as creative, reliable, capable, and easy to work with, you will find luck. If you are seen as difficult, high-strung, a primadonna or irrational you will be known that way even by people who haven’t met you. If you promise things and don’t come through, that will follow you and your credibility will be damaged. Delivering what you say you can deliver is key.

Can you share an experience that really helped you take your business forward? 

A major turning point was meeting with and being mentored by 'Star Wars' and 'Empire Strikes Back' producer Gary Kurtz. Not only due to the knowledge and inspiration I was able to gain from him but the manner in which I was able to get him on board. This was done by knocking on the doors of production companies in Soho, gatecrashing industry events and hustling! Moments like these gave me the belief that anything is possible.

Is there a particular achievement or project that your business has worked on that you would like to share?

We have worked with some fantastic clients and talent including Samuel L. Jackson, Dame Vivienne Westwood, Mos Def, D Double E, Akala and more. However I'm most proud of our feature film 'Brash Young Turks' which tells a fast flowing tale of love, crime and power against all odds. This was a project which started off in a small youth centre in Hackney, with no industry support, little finance and put together with a cast and team, many of whom had no experience. Yet we were able to create an epic movie that is progressive, kinetic and bold. To see it in cinemas, touring the country and a television premier around the corner is a fantastic achievement. 


What are three things you know now, that you wish someone had told you when you first started?

The film business is all about relationships. People in the industry often believe, "better the devil you know." I wish I knew that when I first started.

To be innovative and bold with your marketing and branding

To remain focused and not get distracted

Is there anything specific you’d like to ask or share with the Virgin Media Pioneers community?

I'd like to share an exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette for our movie 'Brash Young Turks.' Enjoy!

Finish the sentence: To be an entrepreneur…

You've got to be BRASH!


Fantastic news and keep up the great work


Sounds like quite a journey Naeem - what made you want to get into the film industry in the first instance?