Alumnus Writes Award-Winning Screenplay

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Shahid Muhammed

Shahid Muhammed, a two-time HFC alumnus, has written a screenplay titled “Angel’s Night,” which has won five awards and is currently being produced by Muhammed’s Detroit-based company X-Ray Vision Film & Entertainment, LLC (

Set in Detroit, “Angel’s Night” was inspired by the campaign of the same name initiated by then-Mayor Dennis Archer in 1995 as a direct response to Devil’s Night. Occurring on and around Oct. 30 – the night before Halloween – Devil’s Night is a night of mischief that occurs throughout the U.S., but it has been indelibly associated with excessive vandalism and arson in Detroit from the 1970s throughout the 1990s.

In an effort to curb Devil’s Night violence, Archer and other Detroit city officials organized Angel’s Night. Each year, as many as 50,000 volunteers gather to patrol the city. These volunteers keep a high profile when patrolling Detroit neighbors. They have magnetic mounts on their vehicles that flash amber beacons and they are in constant communication with command centers via CB radio or phone to report any suspicious activity. The police are then notified.

As a result of Angel’s Night, vandalism, arson and other violent crimes in Detroit have declined due to the vigilance of Angel’s Night volunteers. In fact, the drop in reported fires in Detroit in 2008 is credited to the Angel’s Night program.

For Muhammed, this background represented a unique opportunity to tackle an important issue and discuss the positives about his hometown.

“This is the first screenplay I’ve ever written. You’ve got to write what you know and I know Detroit,” said Muhammed, of Detroit. “I started writing this screenplay in Susan McGraw’s media writing class. She was teaching various aspects of professional writing, including screenwriting. I was trying to think of a story that encompasses Detroit in a positive way and this was the first story that came to mind,” he added.

In “Angel’s Night,” the hero is Ajani Louis, a Detroit firefighter who has battled more than his fair share of fires on Devil’s Night. His friend and mentor is Moorice Ward, a veteran Detroit cop. Both men volunteer on Angel’s Night in an effort to set an example for Detroit’s youth. Ajani comes up with the idea for mandatory night school on Devil’s Night – an idea city officials embrace – to keep kids off the street. The story occurs on Devil’s Night one year and ends on Devil’s Night the following year with an epilogue scene showing students attending night school.

“I wanted the protagonist to be someone both residents and officials could relate to; being a fireman, Ajani’s viewed as a hero in his everyday course of life. I felt that being a firefighter would be the ideal profession for the main character. The movie has a Shakespearean opening – he’s thrown into the fire literally and figuratively! I didn’t want to have a detective as the protagonist because that’s been done to death. Having a firefighter as the main protagonist is less predictable. Firefighters are not often the heroes in many movies as opposed to policemen, but they are definitely heroes – they’re on the streets everyday doing something heroic, so it seemed like a logical choice to have the main character be a firefighter. By the end, he becomes a better person and a model citizen who sets an example for the wayward youth of Detroit,” said Muhammed.

According to Muhammed, actor Tommy Ford (best known for his roles on the TV series “Martin” and “New York Undercover”) has expressed an interest in the project. So far, the screenplay has won five awards, including:

  • A Royal Reel Award from the Canada International Film Festival (CIFF) in Vancouver, British Columbia;
  • An Official Selection Award from the Peachtree Village International Film Festival (PVIFF) in Atlanta, GA;
  • An Official Selection Award from the London Film Awards (LFA) in England;
  • An Official Selection Award from the Las Vegas Black Film Festival (LVBFF) in Las Vegas; and
  • An Official Selection Award from the Colortape International Film Festival in Australia.

“It’s really making an impact everywhere it goes. It’s appealing across so many groups – that’s what gives it its potential,” said Muhammed.

From the Heart Productions in Oxnard, Calif., is the fiscal sponsor. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports film projects serving communities in positive ways. Anyone can make a financial donation to “Angel’s Night,” which is tax-deductible, to

A 1992 alumnus of Ypsilanti High School, Muhammed earned his associate degree in General Studies in 2010 and his associate degree in Pre-Secondary Education in 2013 – both from HFC. He is currently a student at Wayne State University, where he is slated to graduate in 2016 with his undergraduate degree in Urban Studies.

“Shahid is very motivated, driven, creative, and passionate about telling this story and wanting to succeed. He carries himself very professionally and knows what he’s doing,” said McGraw.