Perpich News

Khalid Ali, Media Arts Instructor, Shares Film and Speaks to Students During Common Experience

Khalid Ali, Media Arts Instructor

October 3, 2023

Perpich Media Arts Instructor, Khalid Ali, shared his film Squeegee and spoke with students during Common Ex on Monday, October 2nd. Common Ex is a series of presentations where students hear about the artistic life from practicing artists, many of whom are Perpich graduates.

The “Squeegee Boys” are best known for washing windshields of cars stopped at intersections around Baltimore. Seen by some as hooligans and by others as entrepreneurs, little is known about the actual circumstances that drive these young men to pick up a squeegee. This documentary follows the working days of seven young men as they navigate the busy intersections of Baltimore in search of tips. The footage shows scenes likely familiar to many locals who daily encounter the “squeegee boys” from their cars. But shown from the point of view of the “squeegee boys”, the film offers new insights into the lived experiences of these young men. Watch the film and learn more here. Squeegee also screened at Cinema Lounge in Minneapolis, hosted by Film North, in late September. 

Reflecting on the experience of presenting his film to the Perpich community, Khalid shared, “My films represent who I am as a person and how I see the world. It’s always gratifying to share that part of myself with people and have them respond in a positive way. That was my experience at Monday’s Common Ex.”

“We are fortunate to have so many Perpich educators as practicing artists,” said Rebecca Bullen, Arts High School Principal. “Having Khalid share his documentary, how it came to be and his journey, was a gift to students and staff. His passion was inspiring and, I believe, brought forth wonderful questions from our students. It was a fantastic community experience.”

Khalid Ali is a filmmaker and educator from Baltimore, Maryland. Originally trained as a commercial filmmaker in Los Angeles, Khalid developed an interest in documentary film when he began traveling to China with his older brother. Intrigued by the ability of his camera to bridge cultural differences, his experiences there evolved into a series of documentaries about Chinese urban culture, particularly on the margins of society. Since returning home, Khalid has applied the same approach to filmmaking in his native Baltimore. Whether in China or the U.S., his films follow people toiling in humble jobs but who aspire to greatness. Together, their stories show how work can define or defy one’s identity. Khalid taught filmmaking for 11 years at Carver Center for Arts & Technology in Baltimore County before joining Perpich in 2022.