Toronto’s first ever Muslim International Film Festival (MIFF) will be held on October 30th at the Ontario Place drive-in theatre.
“This is Toronto’s first ever Muslim International Film Festival (MIFF) and it’s happening as a drive-in film festival, as well,” Hirra Farooqi, Co-Founder of the festival told AboutIslam.net.
“Given the situation our world is in right now, a lot of existing film festivals had to fall through for this year. However, the fact that we have been blessed enough to be able to host this not just for us but for our amazing audience is a highlight in itself.”
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The first-time festival will feature films from Canada, Pakistan, Turkey, and America and a wide range of different genres.
The event will include a screening of the film, “I am Rohingya: A Genocide in Four Acts,” which focuses on the experiences of 14 young refugees who fled the ongoing Burmese genocide of Rohingya Muslims and how the refugees have adjusted to their new life in Canada.
Other films include psychological thrillers, a documentary about the Syrian refugee experience in Canada, a film on how an Afghan woman started a movement of resistance, and a film about the British Empire’s colonization of South Asia.
“Our lineup of selected films truly shows us how diverse the talent in the Muslim community is and the representation we want in the media is right here in front of us within our own communities,” said Hirra Farooqi.
Hirra Farooqi and Co-Founder Obaid Babar launched MIFF after attending the Zonta Film Festival, a festival that celebrates female filmmakers.
“Around this time last year, my co-founder and I were attending the Zonta Film Festival in Waterloo,” said Farooqi.
“We thought about how important it is to have festivals like this that celebrate minority groups but how come we’ve never heard or attended of one that celebrates Muslim excellence. That’s when we came up with the idea of the Muslim International Film Festival.”
However, when COVID-19 pandemic struck earlier this year, the organizers were forced to adjust their plans and move the festival to a drive-in format.
“We obviously wanted to host the event as a traditional film festival, however, due to COVID restrictions we were not able to do so,” added Farooqi. “For most of the year, we were very confused as to what or how we would be able to pull this off in our first year.”
“But Alhamdullillah, with the Grace of Allah, we were able to pull off the event, not exactly in a traditional manner, but I would say in an even better way. The drive-in theatre concept is not something we thought about until we were first hit with the pandemic but it was something we were very excited to try and ensure that this festival happens.”