Malik Gillani, co-founder of Silk Road Rising, a non-profit performing arts organisation in the Chicago area, shares an excitement for creative engagement with his audiences. “When patrons tell me after viewing one of our productions that they have a better sense of Asian and Middle Eastern communities,” he says, “I feel a sense of accomplishment in our works.”
Gillani and his partner, Jamil Khoury, founded Silk Road Rising as a response to negative reactions and stereotyping of Muslims after 9/11. […]
When Faridoun Hemani left his Vancouver home to cover the assassination of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Cairo in 1981, he expected to return a few months later. The Arab world was undergoing rapid geopolitical changes, and Hemani arrived in the midst of a shifting world order on the Arabian peninsula.
Instead of returning to Canada, he found himself at the front lines of Middle Eastern political and war reporting for the next two decades. […]
With a background in anthropology, Aleem Karmali has a keen interest in the social relationships of distinct societies. Having visited Ismaili leaders in the mountainous regions of Tajikistan, aboriginal elders in Alberta, and female Muslim rap artists in the United Kingdom, Karmali gained a deep appreciation for the resilience of minorities in society. He set out to film their stories through documentaries — a medium he sees as a safeguard of their histories, which might otherwise be forgotten.
In 2009, as part of his academic dissertation, Karmali produced a documentary about the generational transmission of Ismaili traditions and beliefs in Tajikistan during the Soviet era. He feels a strong connection between his ethical values and film production.