Major Film Festival Officially Kicking Off in Mississauga

 

It's hard to believe that we're already halfway through summer and that, sooner rather than later, TIFF will be making headlines throughout the GTA.

But before cinephiles start planning for September, they should note that a major film festival is about to kick off in Mississauga—and it's not a festival that any film fan should overlook. 

The 2019 Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF) is kicking off tonight (Aug. 1) with its Red Carpet Opening Night Gala at Cineplex Cinemas Mississauga (309 Rathburn Rd. W).

MISAFF is returning to the city for its seventh year and will run from Aug 1 to Aug 4. This year, the festival will showcase films that unpack the struggles of women and families, comedies about complex relationships, explorations of art and ancestry, and a closer investigative look at domestic and intimate partner violence.

The opening night film, Bangla, will be making its North American premiere at the festival. 

Bangla chronicles the story of Phaim, who falls madly in love with the liberated Asia. The pair eventually run into trouble when his traditional parents insist he must marry a Bengali woman (and they remind him that, according to Islam, sex before marriage is a sin). The film showcases a clash of cultures - an everyday reality for many second-generation immigrants.

The red carpet event will kick off at 6:00 p.m. and the screening will follow at 7:00 p.m. An after-party at the Rec Room in Square One will follow at 9:00 p.m. 

All in all, the festival will showcase eight fiction films, three documentaries, and seven shorts from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Italy, the UK and Canada. 

"MISAFF takes the liberty of showcasing courageous and ground-breaking films. We welcome audiences from Mississauga and the GTA, and while it is a South Asian film festival, the stories and movies are for everyone irrespective of ethnicity or background," said Festival Director Arshad Khan. 

"We are showcasing films that address the human condition but also relate to our lives in so many epic ways. MISAFF is the only film festival in Mississauga and it has built a reputation to showcase the best cinema South Asian filmmakers have on offer from around the world. We stand apart because as filmmakers ourselves we understand the needs of other film professionals. That is why we include opportunities for emerging filmmakers and talent to network with other industry professionals."

At this year's festival, a jury of film professionals including musician and actor Rup Magnon, Pakistani Canadian film director Omar Majeed, TIFF programmer Liane Cunje and actor Huse Madhavji, will be deciding who receives this year's cash prizes. Prizes will include Best First Feature Award, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. 

Also returning at MISAFF 2019 is the Sabeen Mahmud Award for Courage in Cinema, an award founded in memory of the human rights activist and interactive media creator.

In addition, the 2019 MISAFF Star presented by ACTRA will be recognizing Ottawa/Toronto-native and pioneering actor, Hamza Haq.

For 2019, MISAFF has programmed select films to bring a focus to Canadian filmmakers, specifically films helmed by Canadian-South Asian women such as Eisha Marjara (Venus), Zana Shammi, (Untying The Knot), 15-year old filmmaker Aniyah Faisal (Our Reality is Happy), and Fawzia Mirza and Anam Abbas (Saaya), and many more. 

The closing night red carpet film, Kaamyaab, will be presented by award-winning director Hardik Mehta.

Other notable films premiering include Bollywood sensational playback singer Arijit Sing's directorial debut SA, Sapna Moti Bhavan's award-winning Sindhustan, Afghan-Australian TIFF winner Jirga, Lunchbox director Ritesh Batra's Photograph, the international premiere of the comedy The He Without Him, Punjabi dark comedy Meshampur, the world premiere of the Indian film Gaash, the world premiere of the USA/Pakistan short film Saaya by Fawzia Mirza and Anam Abbas, and critically acclaimed Pakistani film Indus Blues

Also back this year is the popular MISAFF Chat, an industry event that connects filmmakers with the Mississauga, Oakville, Brampton, Etobicoke, and Toronto film communities.  

For a full list of films and the schedule, click here.

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