Inside Out Profile: Fawzia Mirza

Inside Out x NOW Digital Residency

As part of this month’s Inside Out x NOW Digital Residency, we’re profiling a number of filmmakers and community members associated with Inside Out. See all of the profiles here.

What do you do in your industry? 

Acting, writing, producing, art-ivist.

What’s your most recent film about? 

A queer, Pakistani girl and her Muslim, immigrant mother come of age against the backdrop of their shared love of a Bollywood heroine.

If you had to cook one dish to impress a potential film financier, what would it be?

Do they eat meat? Do they eat carbs? Do they want to eat something that might require us to nap afterwards? (I know, so Hollywood/respectful.) I would cook the Pakistani slow-cooked dish, Nihari. It’s made traditionally with shank beef, cooked all day, eaten with your hands with naan, topped with cilantro, ginger, fried onions and hot green chilis. The Mughals in India used to eat it after a long night of partying to soak up their indulgences and then go back to bed.

What’s one way the Canadian film industry could be more inclusive? 

Canadians are great at intersectionality, but I think we have to strive to be better, especially when the political climate gets hot and gross. Canadians have the power to create more space and be positive examples of how to be great humans. From a very practical standpoint, maybe getting more people of colour and women in the funding agencies to reflect the work you want to support.

In your opinion, what are some ways that Inside Out has impacted the LGBTQ community? 

When you’re storyteller, an artist, at any level of your career, sometimes you just need someone to believe in you, to give you visibility, to support you, to remind you why you do the work that you do. Inside Out brings people together, has given a platform to marginalized and intersectional voices and stories. Also, they throw kickass parties. I mean, no other festival threw my 2017 feature film, Signature Move, a wrestling party with a burlesque performance troupe.

Are there any filmmakers who inspire you right now?

Desiree Akhavan’s trajectory is amazing. She stars in and writes from a very personal space and makes everything – short form, Sundance-winning features and an upcoming TV show. I’m also really into Boots Riley’s new film Sorry to Bother You. It reminded me to embrace my truth, my weirdness and boldness, because no one else will until you’re on fire. When you’re on fire, then everyone is a believer.

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