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by Editorial Desk May 29 2024, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins, 21 secs

The 13th edition of South Asian Film Festival Montreal is online now. The online festival started on 27th May 2024 and will run until the 3rd June, reports the #Newsdesk.

SAFF offers audiences a chance to watch a wide range of films. documentaries, features and short films are available online for FREE. 

The South Asian Film Festival of Montreal (SAFFM) unveiled its 13th annual event in collaboration with Cinémathèque Québécoise and Ville de Saguenay. Showcasing a compelling mix of 58 films, this festival started on the 24th May and is on till 2nd June 2024 - the online edition starting 27th May will make the films available to global audiences till the 3rd June 2024. The selection of films is a cinematic journey transcending boundaries.

SAFF Montreal was founded in 2011 with guidance from Late Mrs. Vijaya Mulay, distinguished documentary filmmaker, film historian, writer, educationist and researcher, and Thomas Waugh, currently Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Film Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality, Cinema at Concordia University.

The festival is presenting films made mostly by independent filmmakers and includes a variety of themes. Films from South Asian countries (Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and their diaspora all over the world) were invited. SAFFM enhances accessibility by featuring films in Urdu, Hindi, Nepali, and Czech, with English and French subtitles. The films explore a wide spectrum of topics, including immigration, LGBTQ+ issues, religious freedom, women’s rights, aging, environmental challenges, gender parity, parenthood, various art forms, and rural life struggles.

With 58 award-winning films from 12 countries, the line-up challenges stereotypes and addresses pressing social and political issues in South Asia. Festival Director Syeda Nayab Bukhari expressed pride in the diversity that delved into themes of women empowerment, environmental concerns, cultural nuances, and more.

Binita Mehta, one of the eminent members of the excellent jury this year said, “It was a real honour to be invited to be part of the jury for the 2024 South Asian Film Festival of Montreal.  I was part of the jury for the short film, fiction and documentary category. We watched a varied selection of 35 South Asian shorts from India, Pakistan, the US, and the UK and had to pick the winners, runner-up, and special mention in each category. The choices were hard because of the variety of talented filmmakers who submitted their work.”

The list of distinguished jury members is as follows:

THOMAS WAUGH: Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Cinema, Concordia University. Born 1948, London, Ontario. Teacher, programmer, writer, critic, activist, Graduate of Guelph Collegiate, Western University and Columbia University. Retired from Concordia in 2017 after 41 years teaching film and sexuality/queer studies, including Indian Cinema. Author, compiler or editor of 14 books, including I Confess: Constructing the Sexual Self in the Internet Age (co-edited Brandon Arroyo, 2019).

MONEEZA HASHMI: Moneeza Hashmi is a broadcaster, television producer, actress and a former general manager and director of programmes of the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV). Hashmi has over four decades of experience working with public media. She is the Trustee of Faiz Foundation Trust, Pakistan and main organizer of Faiz Festival Lahore. She is the younger daughter of the prominent Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

MATHIEU BOISVERT: Mathieu Boisvert is the director of the Centre d’études et de recherches sur l’Inde, l’Asie du Sud et sa diaspora. He is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the Université du Québec à Montréal, and his primary research interests lie a) in the articulation of religion and contemporary politics and b) in the study of marginalised communities in India. He is the author of Les Hijra : Portrait socioreligieux d’une communauté « transgenre » sud-asiatique.

BINITA MEHTA: Binita Mehta is Professor of French Emerita at Manhattanville College where she taught courses in French language, literature, and film. She is passionate about cinema, especially French-language cinema. She has also written articles and given talks on films by South Asian diasporic filmmakers. From 2012-2016, she was a co-panellist at post-screening Q&As of French language short films at the Avon Theater in Stamford. CT. Since 2021, she has been a moderator and guest panellist at post-screening discussions of the film festival Francophone Short Films in Harlem.

MANOJ SINGH: Manoj Singh, Director of the Not-for-Profit organization DC South Asian Arts Council Inc. Always had passion for arts, acted in prominent plays and short films. Busy managing year-round literary, music, dance, film festivals, and art exhibits. DCSAACI has a monthly newsletter and hosts discussions on South Asian social issues.

RITA MEHER: Rita Meher co-founded Tasveer in the aftermath of 9/11 to provide a platform for South Asians to tell their stories and create a more informed and just society through thought-provoking arts events. The desired outcomes are increased cross-cultural understanding, engagement of South Asians in meaningful community dialogue, and promotion of the work of South Asian artists. She was born and brought up in India, and lived in Japan before moving to Seattle. Before becoming the ED of Tasveer in 2012, Rita produced award-winning public television shows and made her career debut on TV in Japan in 1995. She edited the award-winning Bangladeshi documentary “Threads” and made her first short film, “Citizenship101”, based on her own immigrant experiences. Rita has been honoured by Northwest Asian Weekly as the Seattle Globalist of the Year in 2015, Rising Star in 2015, and Community Voice in 2016. She’s also been honoured by the International Examiner with an Excellence in Arts Award in 2016. Her passion is to bring to light the stories of the South Asian Diaspora.

SAMEEA JAMIL: Sameea Jamil is a Professor of Media Studies with a focus on International Communications and media content creation, particularly in film. Her work examines the impact of media on cross-border cultures. She contributed to the “Strengthening Journalism Education in South Asia” program, funded by the US government and US universities, using her expertise to develop a new graduate program at Kinnaird College For Women University, Lahore, which included hands-on training.

ALI KAZMI: Ali Arsalan Kazmi, is a Pakistani-Canadian actor, director and producer. He appears in English, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi language films and television series. Apart from acting he has also worked as a host, director, producer and model.

For more details and to explore the festival, visit the

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