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First major Muslim film festival of UK announces lineup


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The United Kingdom is set to host its inaugural Muslim Film Festival, a groundbreaking event poised to celebrate the diverse narratives and talents within the Muslim community.

Scheduled to take place from May 30th to June 2nd at the prestigious Odeon West End in London, this festival promises to showcase the richness and complexity of Muslim experiences through the powerful medium of film.

One of the most anticipated aspects of the festival is its impressive line-up of stars and filmmakers. Among them are luminaries such as Riz Ahmed and Nabhaan Rizwan, both of whom have made significant contributions to the entertainment industry and have been vocal advocates for greater representation of Muslim voices in media.

Riz Ahmed, known for his versatile performances in films like Nightcrawler and Sound of Metal, has emerged as a prominent figure in Hollywood, challenging stereotypes and advocating for more inclusive storytelling. His involvement in the festival underscores the importance of providing platforms for Muslim artists to share their stories authentically.

Nabhaan Rizwan, whose star has been on the rise following his breakout role in the critically acclaimed series Industry, brings his fresh perspective and talent to the festival. As a young British actor of Pakistani descent, Rizwan represents the next generation of Muslim artists who are shaping the cultural landscape with their creativity and vision.

Ahmed will be seen in Dammi, a short film directed by Yann Demange, the French filmmaker. The Oscar-winning actor co-stars with Isabelle Adjani in a story about a man confronting his French and Algerian heritage on a trip to Paris.

Rizwan plays the lead in In Camera, a British feature directed by Naqqash Khalid that screened at the London Film Festival, as an actor struggling to make a career in the film industry in the face of repeated rejections.

Other programme highlights include Hounds, a Casblanca-set crime yarn from Moroccan-born writer-director Kamal Lazraq, which will open the festival after winning a prize in the Un Certain Regard selection at Cannes; multi-award-winning Jordanian film Inshallah a Boy, about a widow (Mouna Hawa) pretending to be pregnant with a son to fend off legal problems; and another Cannes prize-winner, Sudanese director Mohamed Kordofani’s Goodbye Julia, set during the pre-separation period, about a woman from the north and her maid, who is from the south.

In a statement, the festival said: “At a time of polarised public opinion and a prevalence of negative portrayals of Muslims in the mainstream media, MIFF has arrived on the international film festival circuit with a mission to celebrate and amplify the diverse voices that explore the rich tapestry of Muslim experiences via the medium of film.”

Festival director Sajid Varda added: “The festival is … a vibrant celebration of cultures and stories from across the Muslim world, providing a spotlight on talented emerging and seasoned film-makers from all corners of the globe.”


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