Panelists

Rock Demers

Founder (in 1980) and President of “Les Productions La Fête” and creator of CONTES POUR TOUS, Rock Demers has been involved in all facets of cinema (critiquing, distribution, export, operation, production). In early 50’s, he co-founded the magazine Images and established many film clubs. In 1958, after having studied teaching, he quit the country in order to travel across Europe and Asia for two years. On return to Canada, he joined the team that had just established the International Film Festival of Montreal. He became its Director General from 1962 to 1967. He was one of the co-founders of Cinémathèque québécoise in 1963 and established Faroun Films in 1965. In 1968 he devoted himself to Faroun Films, whose distribution of films for the youth rapidly expanded to more than ten countries. With the export of the film Martien de Noël and other films, such as Les Mâles (Gilles Carle), La Vie rêvée (Mireille Dansereau) and Les Smattes (Jean-Claude Labrecque), Faroun Films became the most important ambassador abroad for the nascent film industry of Quebec. Thanks to the brilliant success of the initial CONTES POUR TOUS, whose exceptional quality was appreciated by the public and the critics (215 national and international awards in under 30 years), the collection now consists of 24 titles and has brought Rock Demers numerous prizes, both national and international, among which are Prix Albert Tessier (Quebec), Companion of the Order of Canada and Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (France).

Dr. Dushyant Yajnik

Initially a family physician, he studied and has specialized in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. He has organized and participated in the ”Psychoanalysis and Cinema” screenings and seminars of the Quebec English Branch of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society. He has given a seminar series in the same field at the Argyle Institute of Human Relations. He recently spoke at the “Au Contraire Film Festival” which purposely seeks out edgy, thought provoking films from around the world which explore mental health issues from different viewpoints. A film buff for many years, he was the director of the South Asian Film Festival of Montreal in 2016.

Dr. Chiara Letizia

A social anthropologist and historian of religions, Chiara Letizia is Professor of South Asian Religions at the University of Québec in Montréal and Researcher and Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Milan Bicocca. She is a research associate at the School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford and an associate member of the Centre for Himalayan Studies of the CNRS. Chiara’s research interests focus on the anthropology of Nepal. Since 2010, she has been investigating the meanings, the shaping and the implementation of secularism in Nepal, and the role of the judiciary in this process.

Dr. Isabelle Miron

Born to Quebeckers at the Hôpital Américain de Paris (Neuilly-sur-Seine), Isabelle Miron has pursued university studies in literary creation as well as French and Quebec literature at the university of Montreal and UQAM. She taught for a few years at Cégep de St. Laurent before pursuing a doctorate. She has written a doctoral thesis on the poetry of Quebec. In the framework of her doctorate, she studied at École normale supérieure and at the University of British Columbia. Since 2007, she is a professor at UQAM in the department of Literary Studies.

Molly Kohli

Molly Kohli is the social media presenter at CBC Montreal, focusing on impact-storytelling on social platforms in news and current affairs. She’s also been a technology columnist on CBC’s weekend shows on TV and radio. After graduating from Concordia in Communications and Political Science, and before starting her career in broadcast, she spent a summer working at the United Nations in New York.

Dr. Uzma Jamil

Dr. Uzma Jamil is a sociologist and researcher whose expertise is in critical Muslim studies, Islamophobia, and the securitization of Muslims in the “war on terror” context. As a member of the McGill Transcultural Research and Intervention team, she did her doctoral research with South Asian Muslim communities in Montreal on the impact of the “war on terror” on their lives, identities and social relations. She has also conducted research and published on the racialization and securitization of Muslims, and contributed to government policy dialogues on racism and discrimination. She is on the Editorial Board of ReOrient: The Journal of Critical Muslim Studies.

Kanita Ahmed

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.

Dr. Jill Didur

Jill Didur is Professor of English at Concordia University. Her research interests include South Asian literature and culture, postcolonial studies, and the environmental humanities. She is author of Unsettling Partition: Literature, Gender, Memory (2006), and coeditor of Global Ecologies and the Environmental Humanities: Postcolonial Approaches (2015).

Dr. Pasha Mohamed

Pasha M. Khan is the Chair in Urdu Language and Culture and Assistant Professor at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University, working on Urdu, Hindi, and Indo-Persian languages and literatures.

Dr. Madhav Rao Badami

Madhav Badami has a joint appointment in the School of Urban Planning and the McGill School of Environment at McGill University. He is also a core faculty member in the inter-faculty BA&Sc programme in Sustainability, Science and Society at McGill. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of environmental policy and planning; urban transport; alternative transport fuels; urban infrastructure and services; and environment and development.

Dr. Hamsa Stainton

Hamsa Stainton is an Assistant Professor in the School of Religious Studies at McGill University. He did his graduate work at Columbia University (Ph.D.) and Harvard Divinity School (M.T.S.) in the United States. He specializes in South Asian religions, particularly Hinduism, and has spent many years studying and traveling in South Asia. He teaches classes on a variety of topics related to the history and diversity of religion in India, including Yoga, the Indian epics, and Gods and Goddesses. His recent research and publications focus on a popular genre of Sanskrit devotional poetry in north India, the hymn of praise.

Suman Rayamajhi

Suman Rayamajhi is co-founder of the Pathashala Theatre group based in Kathmandu. After starting as an actor over a decade ago, he started directing in 2011. To date, he has directed five plays working with differently abled communities and marginalized groups in each production. He is also the convener of the annual Kathmandu College Theatre Festival, which aims to expose students to the world of Theatre. He is currently an artist in residence at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal.

Prof. Thomas Waugh

Thomas Waugh is Professor Emeritus at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University, where he taught for 40 years. His current book is I Confess: An Anthology of Original Essays on Constructing the Self Within the Third Sexual Revolution (forthcoming, McGill Queen’s University Press, co-edited with Brandon Arroyo). He will be co-teaching an intensive seminar “Images as Modes of Knowledge, Social Practice and Affect” at the National Institute of Technology, Silchar, Assam, in December.

Dr. Rachel Berger

Rachel Berger is an Associate Professor of History at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Her research takes up the biopolitics of indigenous medicine, the history of processed foods and their markets, the changing politics of the Indian interwar context, and conceptions of the body as a historical lens. She is the author of Ayurveda Made Modern: Political histories of Indigenous Medicine, 1900-1955 (Palgrave, 2013). She also works on queer configurations of kinship and access to reproductive rights in neoliberal times.

Dr. Dolores Chew

Dolores Chew is a founding member of Montreal’s South Asian Women’s Community Centre (SAWCC). She is also a member of CERAS (Centre sur l’asie du sud), teaches history and humanities  at Marianopolis College and is a Research Associate at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute of Concordia University. 

Kiran Omar

Montreal native for last 29 years, Kiran enjoys films and the art of film making intrigues her. She was affiliated with Montreal’s Kabir Cultural Centre for a few years, and helped with the then fledgling film club and festival. She strongly believes that film is an excellent medium to bring social issues to forefront and to tell stories. She has a background in adult education, international relations and social sciences. Women’s issues are another of her areas of focus and she is active in the Montreal chapter of ZONTA, an international organization, with chapters in North America and has advisory status at the UN. ZONTA undertakes activities to promote awareness on women’s health and education. Theater and the performing arts is another of her passions, and she continues to maintain strong links with Teesri Duniya theatre company that focuses on issue related to immigrant and marginalized communities in Montreal and Canada.

Zain R. Mian

Zain R. Mian is a graduate student in English at McGill University from Lahore, Pakistan. He works on South Asian literatures in English and Urdu, and is also learning Bengali as he looks to study Comparative Literature in the near future.

Sara Mahboob

Sara Mahboob is a doctoral candidate at McGill University’s Faculty of Law. Her dissertation examines how women interact with the criminal justice system. Prior to commencing her doctoral studies, Sara has worked as a lawyer, law professor and as a researcher with the Law Reform Commission in Canada.

Vineet Rathee

Vineet Rathee is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at McGill University. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork (2015-17) in rural Haryana, India, his research examines the changing contours of rural life, most of whose inhabitants depend on agriculture, its practices, and the labor opportunities it provides. In addition, his work engages with politics of caste (caste-based agitations and violence), rural caste panchayats (councils) and trajectories of family disputes in villages of north India.

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Marie-Elaine Riou: Panelist at Chicoutimi
Philippe Belley: Panelist at Chicoutimi
Richard Boivin:  Panelist at Chicoutimi
Jean Chateauvert: Panelist at Chicoutimi