Panelists

 

Archana Rampure was born in India, grew up around the world and now lives in Ottawa. She now works for a union but has been an academic and political staffer. Always an activist, she has opinions that she is always happy to share.

Ameesha Joshi graduated with an MFA in Film Production from Concordia University in Montreal and is compelled to explore the boundaries and experiment with approaches to the documentary form.  She directed several fiction and documentary shorts and recently co-directed the award winning feature documentary With This Ring about the Indian women’s boxing team that was 10 years in the making. 

Ayesha Vemuri is a PhD student in Communication Studies at McGill, working on the feminist politics of infrastructure, flooding, and climate change in Assam, India. Her past work examined feminist activism against sexual violence in India, specifically looking at online spaces as sites for developing counternarratives and building solidarity. 

Dipti Gupta has been teaching in the Department of Cinema and Communications at Dawson College since 2002. She also teaches courses on Art forms of Bollywood and Films About the Diaspora at Concordia University. In between her teaching responsibilities, she directs this festival and attempts to make a short documentary each year. She has been an active board member of Teesri Duniya Theatre in Montreal since 1992.

Eisha Marjara, A Canadian film director and writer, has written and directed several award-winning films, including the feature docudrama Desperately Seeking Helen, House for Sale and the feature dramatic comedy Venus. She has also authored her debut novel Faerie, which received rave reviews in the Canadian and American press. She’s developing Venus into a TV series and working on her next features, Calorie and Faerie.

Emina Ghajizai is in the last year of her Bachelors degree,  majoring in International Development and Economics at McGill University. She is a part of South Asian Youth Collective (SAY), which is an ad-hoc committee of the South Asian Women’s Community Centre (SAWCC). As part of SAY, she is involved in organizing community building and healing events. She is also passionate about women’s empowerment and human rights.

Ishita Tiwary is a Horizon Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Cinema, Concordia University. Her research interests lie at the intersection of media infrastructures, video cultures, aesthetics and migration practices in South and East Asia. It has been published in Bioscope: South Asian Screen Studies, Post Script: Essays in Film and Humanities, MARG: Journal of Indian Art amongst others. Her research has been supported by the Fulbright Doctoral Fellowship, The Charles Wallace Grant and the Indian Council of Social Sciences Research Council.

Jyoti Desai Milner, born in Mumbai, daughter of Mangesh and Lalita Desai.  has a Masters Degree in Biology from University of Mumbai.  Married to Thomas Milner and they have two adult children, Prasaad and Surya.   Jyoti currently is a high school Biology teacher in Austin, Texas.

Kanita Ahmed is a board member of the Kabir Centre and works at McGill University. She is passionate about South Asian art, literature and cinema.

Pasha M. Khan is the Chair of Urdu Language and Culture and Associate Professor at the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University. He works on literature in Urdu-Hindi, Punjabi and Indo-Persian. Born in Toronto, Pasha completed his PhD at Columbia University, New York.

Priscilla Jolly is a PhD student in English Literature at Concordia University. Her research focuses on the role of the nonhuman in transformations of landscape. In addition to landscape studies, Priscilla is also interested in environmental humanities and science fiction.

Rahul Chaturvedi is an Indo Canadian filmmaker. He won Toronto Reel Asian’s Pitch Competition in 2016 an d2018, and was selected one ofReelWorld Festival’s Emerging 20 filmmakers in 2017. He studied filmmaking at George Brown college in Toronto and assisted Bollywood director Sachin Takudar prior to making his own films. He is currently in pre-production for his next short film, ‘Namaste, Santa’, and developing his award-winning short ‘Forbidden Tikka Masala’ into a full length feature film.

Raja Bhattacharya- having postgraduate degrees in Law and in Management,  Raja  worked at McGill before joining Concordia University as an administrator. He is trained in Hindustani Classical music and plays the Sarod. He is serving various community organizations since 2002. He has directed and produced many plays in Bengali.  He is the Artistic Director of Kabir Centre and is primarily responsible for implementing the artistic vision of the centre.

Sarwat Viqar is a professor at John Abbot who has researched urban form in Karachi. She researches urban politics and everyday spatial practices in South Asian cities with a focus on Karachi. She has a PhD in Urban Studies/Anthropology. She teaches in the Humanities, Philosophy & Religion Department at John Abbott College in Montreal. She is also President of the Executive Council of the South Asian Women’s Community Centre in Montreal, a feminist organization that provides services for immigrant women and  advocates for an end to gender discrimination in all levels of society.

Schokofeh Kamiz is an independent filmmaker and video artist. She has worked professionally from 2004 to 2011 as a video journalist, her reports reach from Berlin’s cultural scene up to the Libyan civil war. In 2012 she started to produce and direct her own films and video installations. In addition, she has worked as camerawoman and editor with directors such as Ayat Najafi, Sobo Swobodnik and Agostino Imondi on several documentary films with international success. After Sabeen (late 2018) is her debut feature documentary about the life and death of Sabeen Mahmoud, an activist from Karachi killed in April 2015.

Sheetal Lodhia has been working to foster relationships between academic institutions and the world-at-large, championing interdisciplinarity, collaboration and broad purchase for knowledge. She has a history of involvement in the media, education, nonprofit and social innovation sector, working with grassroots organizations, arts-education groups and policy organizations in strategic planning, community engagement and grant acquisition. A doctoral graduate in English Literature from Queen’s University, she has researched and taught in cultural studies, colonialism and critical race theory, Renaissance literature and history of medicine. She has produced radio documentaries and a film documentary short. Sheetal just completed her term as Executive Director of The Institute for the Public Life of Art and Ideas (IPLAI) at McGill University.

Soraya Ata is Afghan and was born in Herat. She has recently completed her Masters in Film Studies at Concordia University. Her research focuses on contemporary Afghan cinema after 2001.

Sushil Das Dr. has been teaching Electrical and Computer Engineering at Jadavpur University in India, Concordia University and Dawson College for over fifty four years.  He is now happily retired and spends his time in studying and reflecting on socio-economics as well as on the metaphysical issues of  Upanishads and the Western philosophers like Immanuel Kant.

Thomas Waugh–teacher, writer, programmer and activist–retired from the film studies and sexuality programs at Concordia University in 2017 after 41 years. He has also lectured at the Film and Television Institute of India, the National Institute of Technology, Silchar, Assam, and at English and Foreign Language University, Hyderabad. His 14th book, I Confess: Constructing the Sexual Self in the Internet Age, a collection of 30 essays co-edited with Brandon Arroyo, is due from McGill Queen’s University Press next month. 

Uzma Jamil – Dr. Jamil’s research is in Critical Muslim Studies and examines how Muslims are constructed as both racialized and religious minorities in the west, using a decolonial/postcolonial approach. Her work is interdisciplinary and draws on sociology, politics, postcolonial theory, and critical race theory. She is a founding member of the Editorial Board of ReOrient: The Journal of Critical Muslim Studies. 

Vanessa R. Sasson is a professor of Religious Studies in the Liberal Arts Department of Marianopolis College where she has been teaching since 1999. She is also a Research Fellow for the University of the Free State, as well as Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University. She has published a number of articles and book chapters, is the author of The Birth of Moses and the Buddha: A Paradigm for the Comparative Study of Religions (Sheffield University Press, 2007); co-editor with Jane Marie Law of Imagining the Fetus: The Unborn in Myth, Religion, and Culture (Oxford University Press, 2009), editor of Little Buddhas: Children and Childhoods in Buddhist Texts and Traditions (Oxford University Press, 2013) and of a forthcoming volume on Jewels in the Buddhist Imaginary. Sasson is also the author of the novel, Yasodhara (Speaking Tiger, 2018).

Zabi Enayat-Zada  Author and speaker, Zabi Enayat-Zada was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. He left his homeland for Canada during the war between the Russians and the mujahideen. Zabi was seventeen when he arrived in Quebec as a refugee. He learned French in the French classes and had the chance to continue his university studies in Montreal. The privilege of being both Afghan and Québécois allowed him to see the world from two points of view, often opposed, but which have harmonized with him over the years. The richness of the Afghan culture of the sixties and seventies combined with the openness of Montrealers has shaped his way of understanding reality. The story of his career is told in the book “Afghan and Muslim, Quebec conquered me”.

Zahra Sabri is a doctoral student in Mughal history and Indo-Muslim literatures at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University. She has taught History and Urdu literature at the Aga Khan University and the University of Karachi’s Pakistan Study Centre. She is a literary translator and has translated folk and classical poetry for nine seasons of the music programme Coke Studio. She has also worked as a journalist for the Herald magazine, DAWN.

Zana Shammi is a Bangladeshi-Canadian journalist and filmmaker. Zana’s first film, ‘Sneha’, a short doc about an orphanage in Bangladesh, aired on TVO in 2011. Untying the Knot is Zana’s first feature documentary film. Premiering as part of Hot Docs Cinema’s ‘Films Changing the World’ series in June 2019, it went on to win the Sabeen Mahmud Award for Courage in Cinema at the Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival. The film will have its Canadian broadcast premiere on CBC’s documentary Channel in November 2019. Before moving to Canada, Zana 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 Journalism from the University of Dhaka. She is an alumna of DOC Toronto’s Breakthrough Program and Hot Docs’ Doc Accelerator Lab.