Opening Night Gala for the 2023 Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF)-Thurs.,March 23rd,2023
By Alex Lam
Canada’s leading South Asian Film Festival, MISAFF, celebrates its monumental 10th edition this March 23rd – March 26th, continuing its mission to feature and spotlight new voices in South Asian cinema.
The festival will make its homecoming back at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre and the Cineplex Square One Cinemas showcasing 40 films, an exciting program of industry events and the return of its coveted MISAFF Star award.
Celebrating its monumental 10th edition, Canada’s leading South Asian film festival, the Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF) will make its return in person this March 23rd – March 26th, 2023 at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre (4141 Living Arts Dr) and the Cineplex Square One Cinemas (309 Rathburn Rd W). The festival’s opening night red carpet gala film will be the North American premiere of the Pakistani drama film KAMLI directed by Sarmad Khoosat. which revolves around the intertwining stories of three women and their restrained desires. The evening will feature a Q&A with acclaimed actress Sania Saeed in attendance.
MISAFF is proud to continue its mission to feature and spotlight new voices in South Asian Cinema and present thought-provoking and conscientious cinema that uplifts humanity and promotes peace and harmony. This year, the festival will showcase 40 films from Canada, India, USA, Pakistan, UK, and Bangladesh which include 8 feature films, four documentaries and 28 shorts. Highlights include the Canadian premieres of SANAA directed by Sudhanshu Saria and Kuldip Patel’s film POWAI, and the international premiere of the Balochi language film DODA directed by Adil Hussain Bizanjo. The festival will also feature the Oscar shortlisted Pakistani film JOYLAND directed by Saim Sadiq. The closing night film will be WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT directed by Shekhar Kapoor.
This year, MISAFF programming features moving themes that will resonate strongly with audiences during this era including films that explore the emergence from pain and overcoming sorrow, love across cultures, courage in the fight for justice and highlighting the scourge of class and casteism.
MISAFF 2023’s films include:
KAMLI by Sarmad Khoosat (Opening Night Film/North American Premiere) – PAKISTAN
Three women grapple with their restrained desires in a tale of love, loss and hidden secrets wherein their stories intertwine. Pakistan’s leading actresses Saba Qamar (Hindi Medium), Sania Saeed (Joyland) and Nimra Bucha (Ms Marvel) star in this stunning film.
JOYLAND by Saim Sadiq – PAKISTAN
In inner-city Lahore, a severe patriarch is the head of the middle-class Rana family, which includes his two sons, daughters-in-law, and four granddaughters. He wants his children to give him a grandson and forces his daughter-in-law Mumtaz to quit her job after Haider, his younger son and her husband, finds work at an erotic dance theater. But all changes when Haider falls in love with Biba, a transgender dancer.
POWAI by Kuldip Patel – INDIA
Powai is a triptych of stories about three women from diverse socio-economic backgrounds living in the titular developing suburb of Mumbai – a domestic worker, a govt preschool teacher and a software professional. As they struggle to realize their aspirations and claim their autonomy in a fast-changing, male-dominated, chaotic and often unforgiving urban landscape, their lives intersect in small, unexpected ways.
DODA by Adil Bizanjo (International Premiere) – PAKISTAN
This first feature revolves around a former boxer DODA from a small town. The film goes through the journey of Doda, and how he can survive and overcome his past and make things right once again. The Balochi language film is an attempt to push Baloch representation in the film industry.
HAWA by Mejbaur Rahman Sumon – BANGLADESH
The film depicts the journey of an all-men team on a fishing trawler, eventually where the mystery of life and relationships gets re- interpreted. The usual fishing mission of a group of seasoned boatmen of Cox’s Bazar finds an unheard-of catch in the deep of the sea. They caught a beautiful yet mysterious young girl and then entered the world of men on the boat. The story of the film is based on a fairy tale.
SANAA by Sudhanshu Saria (Canadian Premiere)
The film is about an ambitious young woman who is raging against an internal battle that is rooted in unhealed trauma. Sanaa, like Suds last film LOEV, also world premiered at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival to great acclaim.
What’s Love Got To Do With It by Shekhar Kapur – UNITED KINGDOM
Set between London and Lahore, a filmmaker documents her childhood friend and neighbour’s arranged marriage to a bride from Pakistan. The film stars Academy Award winning actress Emma Thompson, Indian parallel cinema diva Shabana Azmi and beloved British star Lily James.
Shankar’s Fairies by Irfana Majumdar – INDIA
A very nice slice-of-life movie set in rural 1960s India. It revolves around Shankar, the very competent lead servant in the household of a middle-class Indian family. He is a very important presence in the life of the young girl of the family. Yet he is treated like a brainless idiot by the bossy, unsympathetic mother of the family.
“MISAFF brings daring films to Canada and offers them the spotlight on the silver screen in Mississauga. The Festival introduces new voices that reflect new ideas in our communities.” said Festival Director Arshad Khan. “Cinema has been a catalyst for change and the programming at MISAFF reflects the daring spirit of today’s South Asian filmmakers.”
For 2023, MISAFF has also programmed an exciting selection of feature documentaries including the award-winning TO KILL A TIGER by Nisha Pahuja, WHILE WE WATCHED by Vinay Shukla, EXEGESIS: A LOVE STORY by Qais Pasha and MARGINALIZING MINORITIES by Dipti Gupta. The festival is also hosting 12 Canadian short films including the world premiere of THE LOVE WE MADE directed by V.T. Nayani.
MISAFF will also host an exciting program of industry events including Instagram Conversations With Filmmakers facilitated by the On Canada Project, MISAFF CHAT with the creators and cast of the hit new television show BOLLYWED in partnership with CBC taking place on Friday, March 24th at the Cineplex Square One Cinemas, and the announcement of the 2023 MISAFF Star presented by ACTRA Diversity.
For a full list of films and the schedule, please visit: http://www.MISAFF.com.
In 2012, the Canadian Community Arts Initiative, a registered non-profit organization in Mississauga engaged Arshad Khan and Anya Mckenzie to take the small film component of Mosaic outdoor Festival of Mississauga to the next level. Arshad Khan and Anya Mckenzie were inspired by the renaissance in South Asian cinema taking place around the world and seized the opportunity to create an avid cinephile audience and community in the City of Mississauga by launching the MOSAIC INTERNATIONAL SOUTH ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL (MISAFF). The pair were determined to celebrate and raise awareness about new voices in South Asian cinema. With the help of CCAI and Mosaic Festival (North America’s largest free event celebrating South Asian arts and culture) as a springboard, MISAFF was able to leverage an established cultural brand to attract film audiences in the region.
Since then, MISAFF has evolved with Festival Director Arshad Khan and now Advisory Board Member Anya Mckenzie at the forefront and the support of their collaborative partners the Canadian Community Arts Initiative. Canadian film artists such as Deepa Mehta, Ali Kazimi, Rajkumar Rao, Sami Khan, Anita Majumdar, Raymond Ablack, Syed Fuad Ahmed, Shireen Pasha, Supinder Wraich and Richie Mehta have been involved in the festival over the years and MISAFF attracts acclaimed international artists as well including Anu Menon, Rajat Kapoor, Ravi Patel, Afia Nathaniel, Hansal Mehta and Suraj Sharma. MISAFF features the best of new South Asian film titles and is now a definitive voice in the Mississauga community due to the quality of film selections that build on social consciousness and respect for community.
We would like to thank Amira de Vera,Project Four Public Relations for the invitation to this event.