Film by U of C engineering grad to debut in Calgary
CALGARY -- A film made by Amair Javaid, a recent engineering grad turned director, is making its big screen debut in Calgary Thursday evening.
“When we made this film we weren't expecting this kind of feedback, this was supposed to be the film before the film it seems the story resonates with a lot of people,” said Amair.
Hafiz tells the story of a recent immigrant to Canada as he waits for his exam approval letter to practice as a doctor. He passes the time by calling his mom back home in Pakistan to learn how to cook.
“The film seeks to explore that experience and jump into the psyche of a first generation immigrant,” said Amair.
Javaid moved to Canada from Pakistan with his family when he was three years old. His older brother Omar, who plays the character Hafiz, was five when they immigrated.
Omar is a U of C commerce graduate, who is now pursuing his passion for acting. He said he brought his own experiences to the character.
“I am a first generation immigrant so I have seen all of these struggles. I’ve met a lot of people who have gone through the same thing. They come here, they are very skilled people but they can’t do the same they they were doing over there they end up in small odd jobs,” said Omar.
He said this is also a chance to portray more diverse voices in film.
Hafiz was shot over 15 days in April 2019, with a $1,000 budget.
The approximately 50-minute was nominated for best film and best performance at the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers (CSIF) 2019 Stinger Awards.
“This film was nominated because it is just a great film, it incorporates a lot of what we’re about at CSIF, independent spirit, doing it on no budget,” said Katie Wackett, programming and communications director with CSIF.
“It has really socially significant content about a recent immigrant to Canada and these kind of perspectives that are not often seen in mainstream cinema and its just very well made.”
Wackett said the group is always trying to grow the industry in the city and tell Alberta stories.
“There actually is quite a significant audience in Calgary for independent cinema we’re becoming more and more of an art city,” she said.
Hafiz plays Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Globe Cinema. Admission to the screening is by donation and will help fund venue fees and film festival fees.
The film will also be played at the University of Calgary January 31st.
Amair also plans to submit the project to be screened at other film festivals.
Amair’s next project Charsi, which tells the story of an immigrant family’s struggling during the Alberta recession is in post-production.