Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-12-07
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

MOVIES Holiday comedy short centers on Muslim family and BIPOC queer relationship
by Kayleigh Padar
2021-10-13

This article shared 1632 times since Wed Oct 13, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The short film The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night follows Noor, a Muslim queer woman, and her experience with bringing her Puerto Rican partner home to meet her family for the first time.

When Noor's eldest sister unexpectedly arrives, chaos ensues and everyone's relationships are put to the test. The film explores "themes of sisterhood, belonging, and breaking the rules of tradition," according to its website.

Windy City Times spoke with writer and producer Kausar Mohammed and director Fawzia Mirza about representation in the film industry, the subversive qualities of romantic comedies and what it was like to work with an entirely queer BIPOC creative team.

The short film will be shown at the Chicago International Film Festival Oct 13.

Windy City Times: What inspired you to write this screenplay, Kausar?

Kausar Mohammed: I'm the baby of two older sisters and they're my life. I love them dearly. The inspiration for writing it was when I was introducing my partner to my sisters one holiday. It was the first time they were, in my adulthood, really meeting anyone that I was dating. My mind started spiraling of all the wild ways that things could go wrong. And that's where a lot of the moments, particularly the first scene of the short, were born.

Fawzia Mirza: So, Kauser brought me the script in September of 2020 and asked me if I would direct it. We'd actually met a few years earlier in L.A. when a mutual friend introduced us. I cast Kauser in another short comedy called I Know Her that I directed, which was my solo directorial debut. We had great creative and comedic collaborative energy and it really felt like we could work together again.

In 2020, I also made the decision to transition from Actor/Writer to Writer/Director exclusively. That kind of coincided with Kausar reaching out. As the queer, brown Muslim person, you're often the only one, so to have another queer, brown Muslim person reach out to ask you to direct and work on a project together is not that common.

WCT: The entire creative team behind this short film is made up of BIPOC queer people. What has it been like working with a team like that keeping in mind, like you said, that's not common?

KM: It was healing and beautiful and so restorative and in so many ways. We tried to be super-intentional in centering BIPOC and queer folk. That's something that came up often in conversations with producer Amalia Mesa-Gustin, who's my partner. The intention was just, "How do we just make sure this is a really safe space?" We wanted to be doing this work for each other and uplifting each other as we did it.

FM: It's so interesting to think about how to create work that's actually reflective of the communities we're a part of. In some ways, [having a BIPOC queer creative team] just makes sense. It's not necessarily easy, in the respect that not everybody in your community is necessarily in those roles yet or has the training or is as known as someone else might be. It takes great intentionality.

It's not just about inclusivity. I think inclusivity means you have to include people from the outside too, but instead, I think this is true collaboration. What you tend to see in this industry is competition. I mean, it's capitalism, right? So capitalism thrives on competition, not on collaboration. Behind the camera, in front of the camera and the post-production, this project has been striving to be something different.

WCT: What were some of the challenges that the pandemic brought to creating this short film?

KM: It definitely encouraged us to get creative, particularly in the casting. A conversation Fawzia and I had, that she brought her genius to, was just about how we could make the party feel full and chaotic even though we didn't necessarily want to have that many people there.

We also had to make sure we prioritized safety for everyone. Filming this February, this was the first time a lot of people were working after not having worked the entire pandemic. It was definitely a learning curve, but I think it was worth it.

WCT: Can you both speak about why it's important to make films that center BIPOC queer experiences and why this is something you're both passionate about?

FM: I often tell people that when I would watch TV, the two South Asian representations for me were Apu from The Simpsons and Mindy Kaling, and one of those two is an animated character voiced by a non-South Asian person. So, the representation was limited, to say the least. And then to also be someone who has part of your heart in so many different communities, there was just nothing.

Creation was a form of not just being seen, but a form of survival. In order to live and find a way through in life, you had to create a way on screen for you to be and live and thrive. Centering those characters is also a way of centering oneself and having hope for yourself to have a life that could be as big as anyone else's. That's been my mission since my first film and it continues to be my mission.

Comedy is often sort of put off to the kid's table as, "Well, it's funny, it's not really doing the work." But the thing is, it really is doing the work. Comedy is the only way we can do the work because laughter is the only way we can survive.

KM: The storytelling that we do in TV and film, the stories we create are all a part of reimagining better futures for our communities. Our communities' stories are traditionally told through trauma narratives on screen. So in telling these sorts of stories instead, it's bringing forth an aspirational world for our communities as well.

WCT: How does it feel to bring this movie to Chicago after premiering it in Canada?

FM: I'm excited. It's like coming home. There's a lot of fun folks I haven't seen in a long time that are going to come. Chicago is home to so many people who have historically been left out of the narrative, left out of filmmaking, left out of storytelling. The city is so diverse and so deeply segregated, and this little film is about bringing people together.

KM: I grew up in the Bay Area. I'm based in LA, but I'm actually working in Chicago right now and I've been here for a couple of months. It feels kind of like a homecoming to be able to share it with folks here. There's a really strong South Asian and Puerto Rican community here, so I'm excited to share this with them. It really feels special.

For more information about the short film: www.syedfamilymovie.com .

For more information about the Chicago International Film Festival: www.chicagofilmfestival.com/ .


This article shared 1632 times since Wed Oct 13, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jerrod Carmichael, Alan Cumming, Andre Leon Talley, AIDS drama 2023-02-05
- Openly gay stand-up comic and recent Golden Globes host Jerrod Carmichael is set to star in a comedy documentary series for HBO, according to Entertainment Weekly. The yet-untitled series will center on Carmichael's personal life, following ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Lil Nas X, Sam Smith, tennis items, Oscars, Queerties 2023-01-29
- Famed children's entertainers The Wiggles sent parents into a frenzy when they posted a photo with out rapper Lil Nas X to their Instagram account and wrote, "New collab in the wind?," according to LGBTQ Nation. ...


Gay News

Director Lukas Dhont's Oscar-nominated drama gets 'Close' to audiences everywhere 2023-01-27
- Belgian director Lukas Dhont's new French-language film Close—a nominee for Best International Feature Film for the 95th Annual Academy Awards—tells the touching story of two 13-year-old best friends, Leo (Eden ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: George Santos gets to be a real drag, and all the dish you need 2023-01-23
- "If you're an enemy of drag, you're an enemy of mine." —George Lopez criticizes Ron DeSantis' "War on Drag Queens." There are some stories I try to stay away from, and that includes George Santos—if I ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Planet Sex,' Critics Choice Awards, Madonna, Theo James 2023-01-22
- The show Planet Sex with Cara Delevingne will debut on Hulu on Feb. 14 (Valentine's Day), Out noted. Planet Sex is a six-episode docuseries following the model/actress. "On this immersive journey, she puts her mind and ...


Gay News

Controversial conversion therapy doc has its Chicago premiere 2023-01-18
- Chronicle Cinema presented the celebrated and controversial documentary film Conversion in its Chicago premiere on Jan. 12. The nearly sold-out premiere, which took place at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, also featured a red-carpet experience and ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Indigo Girls, LGBTQ+ films, GALECA nods, Jeremy Pope 2023-01-15
- Indigo Girls will perform at an opening-night celebration for the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19 in Park City, Utah, Variety reported. The Grammy-winning lesbian folk-rock duo are debuting their new documentary, It's Only Life After All, ...


Gay News

Black LGBTQ+ film festival among Chicago NEA grant recipients 2023-01-11
- The Black Alphabet Film Festival—the world's oldest Black LGBTQ+-focused event of its kind—was part of the first round of grant recipients from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), receiving $20,000. In a press release, Black ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Diversity report, Dave Bautista, Leslie Jordan, greatest singers 2023-01-08
- The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative's latest "Inclusion in the Director's Chair" report analyzes the gender and race/ethnicity of the directors behind last year's 100 highest-grossing movies in the country, while the San Diego State Center ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Best in theater, TV, film and music; Obama's favorites; 'Glass Onion' 2022-12-31
- Deadline's Broadway critic revealed his picks for the best of 2022. Leopoldstadt topped his list, but other productions included Kimberly Akimbo, Some Like It Hot, Into the Woods, Hangmen, Ain't No Mo', A Strange Loop, Topdog/Underdog, ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: All the retrospective you'll need to show 2022 the door 2022-12-26
- "He doesn't like gay people. Doesn't want them in Russia. And then he's got the wonderful basketball player and he won't let her out. Make up your mind! He's always acting so butch and strutting around. You know what that ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Janelle Monae, Harvey Guillen, Whitney Houston, 'Drag Race,' Greg Berlanti 2022-12-24
- Janelle Monae has teased a new album, joking that they now has a "clone" for music who has been hard at work in the studio, NME noted. Monae—whose leading part as Helen Brand in the new Glass Onion: ...


Gay News

WORLD Scottish pro-trans law, Ukrainian bill, trans activist, Olympics 2022-12-24
- On Dec. 22, Scotland's parliament approved disputed reforms that make it easier for trans people to change their legal gender, including removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and lowering the minimum age ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Best and worst films, Broadway, Adam Lambert, 'Proud Family,' women's hockey 2022-12-18
- IndieWire revealed its list of the best LGBTQ+ films and TV series of 2022. Just some of the selections included Benediction, Bros, Do Revenge, Fire Island, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Inspection, Los Espookys, P-Valley, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jerrod Carmichael, 'Heartstopper,' Lena Waithe, Gyllenhaal, Cher 2022-12-11
- Out comedian Jerrod Carmichael will host the 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Deadline reported. After a yearlong hiatus, the three-hour telecast will air on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023 from The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills on NBC and ...


 




Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.