Abu Film in Montreal April 13

February 18, 2018
Abu Film poster

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 showed the film last night at the Cinématèque québecoise as part of the Rendezvous du cinema quebecois.

It opens on Friday, April 13 in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver at Cineplex Theatres, including the one at the Forum.

The English-language film contains some portions in Urdu with English subtitles. Parts of it are tragic, other parts are funny. 

Last night director Arshad Khan answered questions following the screening. I also met him a few weeks ago and he’s a compelling speaker.

Why Make the Film?

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

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.



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Tracey Arial

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Tracey Arial

Tracey Arial helps Canadians grow with notable nonfiction and urban agriculture.

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