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Festival combats racism with short films

By Rachel Woodward, February 9 2016 —

From Feb. 12­–14, filmmakers of all ages and backgrounds are participating in the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation’s (CCMF) first annual 48-hour Anti-Racism Film Festival at the University of Calgary.

U of C students are participating in the 48-Hour Anti-Racism Film Festival. // Emilie Medland-Marchen

U of C students are participating in the 48-Hour Anti-Racism Film Festival. // Emilie Medland-Marchen

Each group of filmmakers will be provided with a prop, quote and topic to create their short films, which must be two to five minutes long and revolve around themes of anti-racism. The festival coincides with Black History Month.

Shooting will begin in MacHall’s That Empty Space at 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 12. Teams will have two days to finish their films. According to CCMF founder Iman Bukhari, the event isn’t just for experienced filmmakers.

“Absolutely anyone [can participate]. We even have some junior high and high school kids, we have U of C students, Mount Royal students, adult filmmakers. We welcome all ages, and we encourage absolutely everyone,” Bukhari says.

Experienced filmmakers will be present to help. The films will be screened at a free red carpet evening at Calgary Public Library’s John Dutton Theatre at 6:00 p.m. on Mar. 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The winning film will receive a $250 prize.

An open-mic spoken word poetry jam will also take place on campus, giving participants a break from filmmaking at 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 13 in That Empty Space.

“We hope to start this discussion topic through art,” Bukhari says. “We believe art can make a huge difference in our lives. We want people to be able to speak their mind at this event.”

Bukhari says she hopes the CCMF can expand the festival across the country. The organization’s goal is to recognize and support multicultural acceptance across Canada.

“We know that Calgary supports this and we really hope that people come out and support the cause. We’ve already had a lot of interest from other cities asking to host this, so it’s going really great,” she says. “Our whole point is just to educate Canadians on various cultures, religions, and languages, on the diversity of people that make up our society.”

The foundation organizes  other local initiatives, like meeting Syrian refugees arriving at the Calgary Airport, as well as a candlelight vigil in support of the victim’s of November’s Paris bombings.

“[The candlelight vigil] was an incredible moment for us. We realized just how amazing Calgarians are,” Bukhari says.

For more information on the 48-Hour Anti-Racism Film Festival, visitcanadianculturalmosaicfoundation.com.

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