With actress Chelsea Smith



Born: c. 1969, New York City, N.Y., USA, as Malik Hassan Sayeed.

Education: Howard University School of Communications, Washington, D.C.

Career: 'Sayeed was the son of an actress and a sometime filmmaker who directed documentaries. Moving frequently between New York and Los Angeles [his parents separated after his younger brother was born], Sayeed says his parents were both very creative, but "as an actress, my mom knew what a struggle that life could be. She always tried to protect us, and in fact wanted us to be doctors." While his brother eventually took her advice [he's now a surgeon in L.A.], Malik studied pre-med at Howard University for two years before turning toward the creative arts. It was the need to help pay for his college education that provided the impetus. "My uncle helped me get a job, and my godfather was a lighting designer who wanted to pass on what he knew. Both of them were in the Washington, D.C. theatre union. I started working as an electrician at the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, and on the set of whatever productions came to the area. I watched people working on the set and thought, 'I like what they do,' and then I found out how to do it. So that became my focus. I started by working on graduate students' film projects." He graduated from Howard, and applied to film schools, but didn't get in. He enrolled in some photography workshops in Maine with working DP's. Then he returned to New York and got his first break. He landed a lighting job on 'Malcolm X'. Meanwhile, he was shooting whatever he could, especially music videos. "I was gaffing for Spike, a time when he was in between 'Crooklyn' and 'Clockers', doing other things including a lot of commercials. A spot came up that Robert Richardson, Spike's DP, wasn't available for, and his producer knew I was shooting by then, so he gave me a shot at it. He was hinting that I was ready. And then they asked me to shoot 'Clockers'." [From article by Nancy Bernstein, 2002.]

Met Rhea Rupert, president and executive producer for Little Minx. Joined that company and started directing commercials for Allianz, Canon, Texas Instruments, a.o. Ph commercials dir by John O'Hagan, a.o. Ph music videos. Directed music videos [see below].

Awards: As doph: Independent Spirit Award nom [1999] for 'Belly'.

As dir: Teen Choice Award nom [1999] for 'Ex-Factor'; MVPA Award 'R&B Video of the Year' [2002; shared] for 'What's Going On'.


1995        Clockers [Spike Lee] c

1995        Girl 6 [Spike Lee] c

1997        Eyes Wide Shut [Stanley Kubrick] c; ext ph New York; ph: Larry Smith; filmed 1996-98

1997        The Players Club [Ice Cube] c

1997        Cold Around the Heart [John Ridley] c; 2uc: Geary McLeod

1997        He Got Game [Spike Lee] c; Chicago ph: Ellen Kuras

1998        Belly [Hype Williams] c

1998        [John Leguizamo's] Freak [Spike Lee] tvm

2000        The Original Kings of Comedy [Spike Lee] c; comedy show/115m

2000        Life and Debt [Stephanie Black] c; doc/80m; cph: Richard Lannaman, Alex Nepomniaschy & Kyle Kibbe; addph: Chris

                    Browne, Talawah Levy, a.o.

2000        Frailty [Bill Paxton] c; co-2uc; ph: Bill Butler

2002        Just Married [Shawn Levy] c; co-2uc; ph: Jonathan Brown

2005        Africa Unite [Stephanie Black] c; doc/?m; cph: Arthur Jafa, Kyle Kibbe, Axel Baumann, a.o.; filmed 2005 (Ethiopia)-06


1989        Avalon [Barry Levinson] ?; ph: Allen Daviau

1991        Malcolm X [Spike Lee] electrician; ph: Ernest Dickerson

1993        Crooklyn [Spike Lee] best boy; ph: Arthur Jafa

1995        The Doom Generation [Gregg Araki] co-gaffer; ph: Jim Fealy


199?        Holiday [co-d: Stephanie Black; a: Witchdoctor]

1996        Street Dreams [a: Nas; d: Hype Williams]

1998        Ex-Factor [dir; a: Lauryn Hill]

1999        Jigga What, Jigga Who [dir; a: Jay-Z]

1999        Think About You [dir; a: Blackstreet]

1999        Meeting in My Bedroom [dir; a: Silk]

1999        Left & Right [dir (as Willie Lynch); a: D'Angelo]

1999        The Greatest Romance Ever Sold [dir; a: Prince]

2000        Birima [co-d: Andrew Dosunmu; a: Youssou N'Dour, featuring Wyclef Jean]

2000        Baby U Are [dir; a: Gerald Levert]

2001        What's Going On [co-d: Jake Scott; a: MTV All Stars/Artists Against AIDS]

2003        Flying Without Wings [a: Ruben Studdard; d: Erik White]

2005        Golddigger [a: Kanye West; d: Hype Williams]

2005        My Humps [co-d: Fatima Robinson; a: Black Eyed Peas]