Moko Jumbie opens 2017 MISAFF
Vanna Girod stars in Moko Jumbie opening the 6th annual MISAFF.

(July 25, 2017 – Mississauga, ON) Organizers behind the 6th annual National Bank Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF) have announced their 2017 program with a record 14 feature films, 4 documentaries, and 15 shorts. The opening film is the Canadian Premiere of a film titled Moko Jumbie from director Vashti Anderson. It’s a mystical blending of fantasy and reality in which the lead character, Asha (played by Vanna Girod, pictured above) returns home to a coconut plantation in Trinidad and embarks on a forbidden relationship amid ancestral hauntings, racial taboo and political turmoil.

MISAFF is renowned for showcasing stories that span the globe from South Africa to Bangladesh, Trinidad, the USA, the UK and Canadian and Indigenous films as well as women’s and LGBT stories. The content mix is just as diversified with a blend of love stories, investigations of domestic violence, comedies on complex relationships, and explorations of art and ancestry. Canada’s premier South Asian film festival runs from August 3-6 at the Cineplex Cinemas Mississauga.

“MISAFF is a festival for everyone,” said Arshad Khan, Festival Director. “We showcase films that are not only outstanding but also internationally recognized as they often come from the diverse areas that South Asia-originating people call home. Additionally, MISAFF is doing the essential work of connecting filmmakers to the audiences watching those films. This is what makes MISAFF so special.”

“MISAFF initiates thought-provoking discussions through cinema in our communities and with Greater Toronto Area’s culturally diverse audiences,” added Anya McKenzie, Festival Co-Director. “We aim to challenge dominant ideas of Canadian and South Asian cinema by bringing our audiences modern films and fresh, courageous stories from around the globe and from right here at home.”

Parveen Kaur, actress,
Parveen Kaur in a still from White Knight. Supplied by MISAFF.
In addition to a list of new screenings, A new addition, this year MISAFF brings a special Telefilm Canada presentation of Deepa Mehta’s Fire followed by a talk with the filmmaker on the festival’s’ closing day, Sunday August 6th. The festival has programmed select films to bring a focus to Canadian filmmakers, specifically films helmed by Canadian-South Asian women. In addition to Deepa Mehta, look for Attiya Khan’s A Better Man, which screened earlier this year at Hot Docs. It’s a touching and sometimes disturbing documentary that takes a very tough look at a very tough issue. The issue is domestic violence and what makes this a compelling piece of filmmaking is the fact the abused and the abuser are brought together to examine what their life together was like a couple of decades ago. More compelling still is the fact the co-director, Attiya Khan, is the woman who was the young girlfriend taking the beatings. Also look for films by Ameesha Joshi and Anna Sarkissian (With the Ring), and many more. The screening of Fire is a special Telefilm Canada presentation.

Organizers also announced the 2017 MISAFF Star presented by ACTRA will be given to Toronto-based Parveen Kaur (pictured). Known for her roles in CTV’s Saving Hope as Dr. Asha Mirani, and on ABC’s Beyond, Kaur actively works to create space for positive representations of women of colour in film and television in Canada and abroad.

The full list of films and events at the 6th annual MISAFF is available online.