NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE | Italy | 80 min | Italian/Bengali with English subtitles | PG
CAST: Phaim Bhuiyan, Simone Liberati, Pietro Sermonti, Carlotta Antonelli, Shaila Mohiuddin, Nasima Akhter, Rishad Noorani
When Phaim (22 years old) falls madly in love with the liberated Asia, he panics. According to his traditional parents, he must marry a Bengali woman, and according to Islam, sex before marriage is a sin. This is a clash of cultures which is an everyday reality for many second-generation immigrants.
About the director: Phaim Bhuiyan based BANGLA on his own life, playing the lead in a fictionalised version of himself. Comparisons with the recent cinema hit THE BIG SICK are easy to make and BANGLA also proves that the tried and tested romcom formula lends itself perfectly to serious themes. In their own city, Phaim and his friends, who did not acquire Italian nationality until they were 18, are regarded as foreigners and they struggle with their parents' expectations. An honest comedy about integration and identity.
OPENING NIGHT RED CARPET GALA AND PARTY (at the REC ROOM): $30
OPENING PARTY TICKET AT THE REC ROOM: $10
The MISFF film festival opening party is the most anticipated event following the red carpet opening gala and screening. Film lovers get to network with filmmakers from the GTA as well the film festival organizers and jury. Toronto band MOST PEOPLE will be performing along with an opening by the sensational Montreal musician Denique Leblanc.
Screening: Friday, August 1st, 6:00 PM, Cineplex Mississauga
SPECIAL PRESENTATION | Pakistan | 120 min | Urdu/English with English subtitles
SYNOPSIS: Baaji is a hilarious, raucous romp of a film that references classic Pakistani cinema (Lollywood) and Hollywood and doesn’t shy away from reveling in its own humor laden with modern and feminist flavour. The film is an empathetic take on Lollywood rancor. Yearning for a comeback, a fading star, Shameera meets an America-return director who promises her the world but a sinister fate awaits them all. Baaji takes the audiences on a journey filled with glamour, romance, scandal and intrigue.
About the director: Having completed his Bachelors in Advertising from Syracuse University New York in 1988, Pakistani ad and music video director Saqib Malik recently released his first feature film Baaji. Saqib has been a part of the media and cultural scene in Pakistan for over thirty years. Music videos such as Khamaj for Fusion and Na re Na for Ali Azmat earned him critical acclaim. A life long film buff, Saqib also worked as a film critic for Dawn newspaper as well as the prestigious monthly , The Herald. In addition, Saqib has served as a jury member for the Kara Film Festival and the Lux Style Awards.
Screening: Friday, August 2nd, 8:00 PM, Cineplex Mississauga
ONTARIO PREMIERE | Pakistan | 60 min | Urdu/Pashtu/Sindhi with English subtitles | Documentary
SYNOPSIS: Pakistani folk artists talk about their struggle to keep a fading art form alive while reminding the world what they are about to lose.
About the director: Jawad Sharif is an award-winning filmmaker known for his signature visual storytelling style. His film K2 & the Invisible Footmen has screened worldwide. Sharif is an alumnus of UCLA, the Swedish Institute and Institut Fur Auslandsbeziehunge, Germany and the founder of Bipolar Films.
Screening: Sunday, August 4th, 5:00PM, Cineplex Mississauga
MISSISSAUGA PREMIERE | Australia | 79 min | English/ Pashtu
SYNOPSIS: An Australian ex-soldier returns to Afghanistan to find the family of a civilian he accidentally killed during the war. Seeking forgiveness, he puts his life in the hands of the village justice system – the Jirga. Australia’s entry for the 2019 Oscars.
About the director: Benjamin Gilmour is a filmmaker, author and paramedic, based in Northern NSW. His key film credits include the feature Son of a Lion (2008) and documentary Paramedico (2012). It was Gilmour’s paramedic work that led him to the film industry, originally working as an on-set nurse. Gilmour lends his experience, as a front-line paramedic, to his work with NGO Trek Medics International, to assist in developing emergency medical systems for low to middle income communities in Africa and Central Asia. As a published author, Gilmour’s titles include Warrior Poets: Guns, Movie-making and the Wild West of Pakistan (Pier9), Paramedico – Around the World by Ambulance (Harper Collins) and most recently the children’s book The Travel Bug (Penguin Random House).
Screening: Saturday, August 2nd, 10:00PM, Cineplex Mississauga
India | 107 min | Hindi with English subtitles
The closing film is the hilarious and incredibly crafted debut feature from India called KAAMYAAB. The MISAFF19 awards ceremony will follow the screening.
On being made to go through his own IMDb page, Sudhir, a washed-up side-actor from the heyday of Bollywood realizes that he retired on the verge of a rare milestone: he was featured in 499 feature films. Now at 63, against the wishes of his daughter he decides to come out of retirement to complete the round figure of 500 and get that one substantial role for which he will be remembered forever. Kaamyaab features veteran actor Sanjay Mishra, who himself has played typical side roles in many Hindi movies and with this film he gets to treat you to a roll like never before.
About the director: Hardik Mehta is an Indian screenwriter and director . His short documentary Famous in Ahmedabad (2015) won the Golden Lotus award at the 63rd national film awards for best non-feature film and was in competition at the Hot Docs Toronto film festival. He has also co-written the screenplay of director Vikram Aditramotwane’s most recent film Trapped (2017). Kaamyaab (Round figure) is his first feature film.
Screening: Sunday, August 4, 7:30 PM, Cineplex Mississauga
India | 86min | Punjabi with English subtitles | A
SYNOPSIS: A desperate filmmaker drives a neurotic actress and an aging musician to a village of trauma.
About the director: Kabir Singh Chowdhry’s debut feature film “Mehsampur” won the Grand Jury Prize - India Gold at MAMI and the Golden Sparrow Award for best Editing at the Diorama International Film Festival 2019. Recently he edited and is the creative director of the documentary Sindhustan (2019) which won The Griffith Film School Award at DocEdge Kolkata and the Best Documentary at the New York Indian Film Festival.
Screening: Saturday, August 3rd, 10:00PM, Cineplex Mississauga
MISSISSAUGA PREMIERE | India | 110 min | Hindi with English subtitles
Director: Ritesh Batra
Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra, Sachin Khedekar
SYNOPSIS: A struggling Mumbai street photographer pressured to marry by his grandmother convinces a shy stranger to pose as his fiancée during a family visit. Despite vast cultural differences, the pair develops a surprising connection that challenges their worldviews in a wistful and funny romance from Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox).
Screening: Saturday, August 3rd, 6:00 PM, Cineplex Mississauga
CANADIAN PREMIERE | India | 110min | Bengali with English subtitles
SYNOPSIS: Sa (Simple Notes) chronicles a simple family from a village in West Bengal, in the aftermath of the mass migration following the birth of Bangladesh. Lalu, an Indian classical music prodigy child realizes that simple notes are the toughest to touch but are the most beautiful to the ear.
About the Director” Arijit Singh considers himself fortunate to have had the opportunity to train in Indian classical music for over 20 years. His mainstream recognition however came from singing immensely popular songs for the Mumbai film industry. Sa is his attempt to go back to his roots, because he believes that true art finds a way to transcend mediums.
Screening: Saturday, August 3rd, 8:00 PM, Cineplex Mississauga
CANADIAN PREMIERE | India | 60 min | English | Documentary
SYNOPSIS: Sindhustan relays stories from India and Sindh (Pakistan) and mingles them with the director’s life, illustrating their journey on her skin using art forms like Arjak (Sindhi) and Madhubani (India) to tell the story of a land carried on the shoulders of its people and not rooted in any soil.
About the director: Actor, spoken word artist, hair stylist, writer, director, producer- Sapna Moti Bhavani embodies it all as a visionary and change-maker.
Screening: Sunday, August 4th, 6:15 PM, Cineplex Mississauga
THE HE WITHOUT THE HIM (Runanubandha)
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE | India | 110 min | Bengali
SYNOPSIS: The film explores a daughter's search for her father in the metropolis of Kolkata. The daughter finds the voice of her father in a young director. The paternal traits draw her towards him, but she finds herself trapped elsewhere.
Director’s Bio: Amartya Bhattacharyya is a national award winning filmmaker from Eastern India. His films have screened at over 125 international film festivals including Moscow, IFFI and Kerala. Amartya Bhattacharyya is not only an independent film director, but also a poet, writer, cinematographer, editor, painter, actor, lyricist, recitation artist and a photographer.
Screening: Saturday, August 3rd, 4:00 PM, Cineplex Mississauga
UNTYING THE KNOT
MISSISSAUGA PREMIERE | Canada | 78 min | English/Bengali | Documentary
co-presented with The Yellow Brick House.
Untying the Knot tells the powerful story of Rumana Monzur, the blinded survivor of a domestic attack, and her courageous pursuit of a career in Canada. Exploring tradition, family pressure and social stigma in Bangladesh, the film lays bare the sacrifices made by women in the name of marital expectation.
About the director: Zana Shammi is a Canadian-Bangladeshi journalist and filmmaker. She is an alumna of DOC Toronto’s Breakthrough Program (2016), d ocumentary Channel’s Doc Accelerator (2014), and Reelworld Film Festival’s Impact Film Lab (2015). Zana’s first film, ’Sneha’, a short doc about an orphanage in Bangladesh, aired on TVO in 2011. In 2015, she worked as a freelance producer for Global Television’s investigative series, 1 6X9 . U ntying the Knot is Zana’s first feature documentary film. Before coming to Canada, she worked as a journalist in her hometown of Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is a graduate of the Broadcasting and Film program at Toronto’s Centennial College, and holds a master’s degree in Mass Communications and Journalism from the University of Dhaka.
Screening: Friday, August 2, 6:00PM, Cineplex Mississauga
MISSISSAUGA PREMIERE | Canada | 95 min | English
Synopsis: A South Asian transitioning woman’s life gets turned upside down when her “white” 14 year-old biological son she never knew she had, shows up unexpectedly at her door.
About the director: Montreal filmmaker Eisha Marjara has written and directed several award-winning films, including ground breaking feature NFB docudrama Desperately Seeking Helen. Venus is Marjara’s first fiction feature.
Screening: Saturday, August 3rd, 4:00PM, Cineplex Mississauga