TORONTO – National Bank Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF) is launching a controversial and cutting-edge program for its 6th year with a record 13 feature films, 4 documentaries, and 15 shorts.
Showcasing stories spanning the globe from South Africa to Bangladesh, Trinidad to the USA, and the UK to Canadian and Indigenous films, women’s and LGBT stories lead the way with love stories, investigations of domestic violence, comedies on complex relationships, and explorations of art and ancestry.
Canada’s premier South Asian film festival runs from August 3-6 at the Cineplex Cinemas, Mississauga (309 Rathburn Rd. W., Mississauga, Toronto).
“MISAFF is a festival for everyone. We showcase films that are not only outstanding but also internationallyrecognized as they often come from the diverse areas that South Asia-originating people call home.
“Additionally, MISAFF is doing the essential work of connecting filmmakers to the audiences watching those films. This is what makes MISAFF so special,” Arshad Khan Festival Director says of the 2017 program.
“MISAFF initiates thought-provoking discussions through cinema in our communities and with GTArea’s culturally diverse audiences,” says Anya McKenzie, Festival Co-Director. “We aim to challenge dominant ideas of Canadian and South Asian cinema by bringing our audiences modern films and fresh stories from around the globe and from right here at home.”
A new addition, MISAFF brings a special Telefilm Canada presentation of Deepa Mehta’s FIRE followed by a talk with the filmmaker on the festival’s’ closing day, Sunday August 6th.
For 2017, MISAFF has programmed select films to bring a focus to Canadian filmmakers, specifically films helmed by Canadian-South Asian women such as Deepa Mehta (FIRE), Attiya Khan (A BETTER MAN), Ameesha Joshi and Anna Sarkissian (WITH THIS RING), and many more.
“Telefilm Canada is truly proud to support the Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival for the first time this year,” says Carolle Brabant, Executive Director, Telefilm Canada.
“When we announced last September our objective to achieve a representative and diversified feature film portfolio that better reflects gender, diversity and Canada’s Indigenous communities, we also recognized that the promotional initiatives we financedwere an important step towards that goal. Spotlighting stories from underrepresented communities helps to inspire the next generation of filmmakers, as well as ensures that Canadian films are resonating with Canadian audiences.”
Further, the 2017 MISAFF Star presented by ACTRA is awarded to Toronto-native and pioneering woman, Parveen Kaur (pictured). Known for her roles in the popular American Gods, CTV’s Saving Hope as Dr. Asha Mirani, ABC’s Beyond, and Guillermo del Toro’s popular FX show, The Strain, Parveen Kaur actively works to create space for positive representations of women of colour in film and television in Canada and abroad.
Past recipients of this honour include, Varun Saranga (Schitt’s Creek, Workin’ Moms, Wynonna Earp) in 2016, the Emmy Award-winning web series “Guidestones” actor Supinder Wraich in 2015, and “Degrassi: TNG” actor Raymond Ablack in 2014.
A jury of film professionals including Lalita Krishna, Rashmi Lamba and Caribbean-Canadian filmmaker Sharon Lewis will be deciding who receives over $3000 in cash awards this year.
Also returning this year is the Sabeen Mahmud Award for Courage in Cinema, an award founded in memory of the human rights activist and interactive media creator after its namesake.
Pic shows: On left: Still from MISAFF 2017 opening night film, Vashti Anderson’s MOKO JUMBIE Filmmaker and MISAFF keynote, Deepa Mehta
MISAFF17 – Cutting Edge Festival