Category Archives for Cultural Identity

Abu Film in Montreal Next Sunday

An award-winning film called Abu features a  father-son relationship complicated by identity transformations and immigration. Montreal’s rendezvous du cinema quebecois film festival plans to show the film next week.

The screening takes place at the Cinématèque québecoise, 335 boul. de Maisonneuve next Sunday, February 25 at 6 p.m. To see it, pick up tickets for $12 each at the Rendezvous du cinema quebecois website. The English-language film contains some portions in Urdu with English subtitles. 

Plan to stay for a question-and-answer session with director Arshad Khan following the screening. I met him a few weeks ago and he’s a compelling speaker.

Why Make the Film?

Khan told me that his dad died in a tragic train accident. While going through reams of family footage to put together a video for the official memorial, he began considering the idea of making a film about his dad’s life and their relationship.

We carried cameras with us everywhere,” he said. “My father loved photography and he wanted to create memories for all of us. I saw the footage as an opportunity to share my ‘real’ story, but it was a huge decision to really come out and tell people things I had never shared before.”

Focussing on Family Challenges

Khan said that he grew up in Pakistan in a household filled with photography, music and movies. Then his father underwent a religious transformation to become a conservative Muslim. From then on, he eschewed idle entertainment.

After that, Khan began recognizing his own identity as a gay man, something his father could not appreciate.  The racism the entire family faced after immigrating to Mississauga, Ontario added tension to their complicated communication hurdles.

Get a hint about what unfolds next via the film’s Youtube trailer.

Abu means father in Urdu. By making a film about how they related to one another, Khan could process his emotions and share them with others who might face similar struggles.

It has been a truly cathartic process and although it breaks all the rules of not sharing emotions and issues outside of the family, I hope that my father would be proud.”

Film Recognition

Abu won the jury prize for best documentary at three film festivals: the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, the TWIST Seattle Queer Film Festival and the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival.

It also won audience awards in three others: the Montreal Image+Nation,​ the River to River Florence Indian Film Festival, and Kingston’s Reelout Film Festival.

Cineplex plans screenings in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in mid-April.

Hope to see you there!

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A Mentor for us all: Warren Buffett

Since Berkshire Hathaway holds its annual shareholders’ meeting today, it’s a good time to consider the career of Warren Buffett.

Warren-Buffett-9230729-1-402I began looking at Buffett’s career in part due to the weekly advice I’m getting as part of a group of social changemakers who are being coached by Ryan Eliason. Every week, Ryan reminds us to look for mentors that we can emulate in some way to become better business people.

So I’ve been looking around.

My brother-in-law frequently reminds me of how important Warren Buffett has been to him since meeting the man several years ago. I’ve never met the man, so my admiration is based on John’s comments and various articles by and about Buffett.

Some of the best include:

Warren Buffett’s famous Stop codding the super rich;

Alex Malley’s description in The Four States of Warren Buffet;

Josh Funk’s If you think he’s off his game, just remember all those other times everybody thought he’d lost it;


An excerpt from Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders as it appeared in Fortune;

and my absolute favourite:

Warren Buffett’s own Warren Buffett is bullish … on women.

Now the question is, what will I do to emulate him?

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