Vijaya Rao, New Delhi, India
Vijaya is Professor at the Centre for French & Francophone Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She defended her doctoral thesis on Michel Tremblay and teaches, among other courses, Quebec Literature and Culture in her university. Some of her publications include Ecriture indienne d’expression française (2008) and Reaching the Great Moghul: Francophone Travel Writing on India of the 17th and 18th centuries (2010). The government of Quebec conferred la Médaille du 50e anniversaire du Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie (2018) for her contribution to Quebec Studies. Her latest publication is a co-edited book titled Displacement and Citizenship: Histories and Memories of Exclusion (2019). Having trained in Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music, she has played many roles on the Delhi stage.
Tom Waugh, Montreal – Distinguished Professor Emeritus, School of Cinema, Concordia University. Born 1948, London, Ontario. Teacher, programmer, writer, critic, activist, Graduate of Guelph Collegiate, Western University and Columbia University. Retired from Concordia in 2017 after 41 years teaching film studies and sexuality/queer studies, including Indian Cinema. Author, compiler or editor of 14 books, the most recent being I Confess: Constructing the Sexual Self in the Internet Age (co-edited with Brandon Arroyo, McGill Queen’s University Press, 2019). Co-editor with Matthew Hays of 50-book series Queer Film Classics (2008-2025), including Fire (Shohini Ghosh, 2010). Winner of SCMS Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award (Society for Cinema and Media Studies, 2017) for the monograph The Conscience of Cinema: The Work of Joris Ivens, 1912-1989 (Amsterdam University Press). Teacher Punjab Public School, Nabha (1970-72); Visiting Professor, Film Studies, English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad (2018-19). His 1989 video interviews with Indian independent documentary filmmakers are available on Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=UU-U9TDQrD3eBKdW8LY9crqQ.
Mara Ahmed, Long Island, NY
Mara Ahmed is an interdisciplinary artist and activist filmmaker based in Long Island. She was born in Lahore and educated in Belgium, Pakistan, and the United States. She has master’s degrees in Business Administration and Economics. Her documentaries have been broadcast on PBS and screened at international film festivals. Mara is interested in dialogue across both physical and psychological borders. In 2017, she gave a Tedx talk about the meaning of borders and nationalism entitled “The edges that blur.” She is now working on The Injured Body, a film about racism in America, focusing exclusively on the voices of women of color. Her production company is Neelum Films. She writes film reviews for her blog.
Philippe Spurrell, Montreal
Philippe is a filmmaker, historian and archivist. In 1992 he founded Le Cinéclub de Montréal / The Film Society (CFS) with the aim of exposing audiences to largely non-mainstream and forgotten films from the first 100 years of cinema. Past collaborations have included international festivals, cinemathèques, museums, galleries, art co-ops, night clubs, music tours, municipalities and more. Philippe Spurrell was most recently invited to Besancon, France (birthplace of les frères Lumière) to present silent-era shorts on 16mm with a trio of musicians in a 12th century church venue in June 2019. In the past few years, he has taken on several young apprentices in the delicate task of film preservation and has begun digital transfers of unique orphan or lost film prints dating from the 1920s to 1950s that are rooted in Canadian culture. He was also once hired to create a feasibility study on producing a film on the life on Bangladesh’s national poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam. This required spending time there studying the national film industry.
Alka Kurian, Bothell, Washington
Alka Kurian is an Associate Teaching Professor at the University of Washington Bothell and a recipient of the 2020-2021 Fulbright US Scholar award to Morocco. She is the author of Narratives of Gendered Dissent in South Asian Cinemas (Routledge: 2014) and a co-editor of New Feminisms in South Asia: Disrupting the Discourse Through Social Media, Film and Literature (Routledge: 2017). She is currently working on her third book Transnational Fourth Wave Feminisms: A Postcolonial Backlash (forthcoming 2022 Routledge). She has published a number of book chapters and articles on South Asian film and feminism and was the founder-co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Studies in South Asian Film and Media. Alka Kurian is the director of the Tasveer South Asian Literary Festival 2021 and host of the podcast South Asian Films & Books.
Ali Kazmi, Toronto
A trained multilingual, multifaceted and experienced, professional creative powerhouse of an Actor/Director & Producer. He was born in Karachi, Pakistan and he now lives in Toronto, Canada where he went to Film School and Drama school and started his career again from scratch. Hailing from a family of Creative juggernauts (Actors and Directors-Rahat Kazmi & Sahira Kazmi, sister Nida Kazmi and Grandfather Bollywood actor Shyam) it is inherent within him. He says “It was like growing up in a warm, fuzzy and loving film school!” He lived it, loved it, imbibed it and has put it to good use since. He has been working successfully both on and off camera, in the industry in Pakistan, India, Canada & USA for 17 years in the creative fields of theater, television & film. Working on projects from conception to completion is his strong suit. Ali has a penchant for languages and can speak English, Urdu, Hindi ,Punjabi, Persian, Pashto/Dari, French(basic) and Arabic. He has amassed a portfolio, peppered with multi-layered diverse characters. He believes that “One cannot portray life on screen if one has not lived it!” He is a marathoner, triathlete, certified scuba diver. adventurer, traveller & dreamer. He shows no signs of stopping and his journey has just begun.
Rana Faizan Ali, Lahore, Pakistan
Rana is an academician, broadcast journalist, production expert, and media trainer. He has over 13 years of experience in teaching, production and media training. He has been associated with numerous leading Television Channels including Geo News, Koh-e-Noor & TV, Dunya Tv in hosting, reporting and production. He has also been a Distinguished Visiting Faculty and Media Trainer at the Management and Professional Development Department, Government of the Punjab. He is currently also member of a committee on Education Reform and Communication Wing, Programme Monitoring and Implementation Unit, Government of the Punjab. He is also an external examiner and member of Board of Studies of several public and private universities. Rana Faizan is a gold medalist in M.Phil. In Mass Communication, He is currently an Assistant Professor and Head of the department at the Department of Journalism, School of Media and Mass Communication, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.