In April I made a short film for a class project exploring my love for moustaches and the pressure I feel to remove my natural facial hair. It was quite possibly one of the most empowering things I have ever done: to pick up a camera, create a narrative, edit film and have my own self-told-story shown on a TV screen.
When a professor at Ryerson (where I go to school) got wind of the film she asked to see it. As the coordinator of the Spotlight on Muslim and Arab Women’s Stories, which is part of the International Diaspora Film Festival, the professor, Dr. Nima Naghibi, encouraged me to submit my film.
My film Sibil (the Farsi word for moustache) is now part of the Spotlight on Muslim and Arab Women’s Stories.
The Spotlight on Muslim and Arab Women’s Stories features free screenings of six feature-length films and is co-sponsored by various Ryerson University departments and faculties.
Some of the other screenings include:
• Unveiled Views – Muslim Women Artists Speak Out (2009, Director: Alba Sotorra), a documentary that follows five Muslim women artists from Turkey, Bosnia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran as they discuss their aspirations and the rights and status of women in their countries.
• Round Trip (2010, Director: Golkou Parhizgar), a documentary inspired by director’s experience of returning to Iran after 11 years of living in the UK and rediscovering relationships of those left behind. All of the films are being screened at Toronto’s Carlton Cinemas (20 Carlton St.).
One of the best things about the Spotlight on Muslim and Arab Women’s Stories is that all of the film screenings are free. All you have to do is e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat. Click here for a complete schedule.
To kick-start the festivities, there’s a free film event at Carleton Cinemas on Thursday starting at 5 p.m., featuring a screening of the film Forget Baghdad, a documentary following four Iraqi Jews living in exile in Israel who negotiate between their Arab and Jewish cultures. The screening is followed by a talk by academic Dr. Ella Shohat, from New York University.
To say I’m excited to be a part of this roster of amazing films and women directors is an understatement. My short film is being screened twice, once on Friday at 9 p.m. before the documentary Les Secrets and on Sunday at 6 p.m. before the documentary Round Trip .
Check out this preview of Unveiled Views – Muslim Women Artists Speak Out: