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Shahzad

Sheridan grads celebrate film premiere at TIFF

August 23, 2016

Sheridan graduates are behind a new film premiering in September at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Shahzad tells the story of a young boy and his father moving from Pakistan to Canada. Their relationship is tested as they learn to navigate a new country and new culture. The 11-minute short film was created almost entirely by Sheridan alumni. Haya Waseem, a 2012 graduate in Media Arts (now the Bachelor of Film and Television), is the director, and it’s produced by fellow Media Arts grad Prionnsias Murphy. Other Media Arts grads who lent their skills to the film include: Chris Lew, Kristi McIntyre, Michael Narimalla, Leo Sciara, David-Anthony Turineck, Ramit Arora, Bea Macapagal and Natalia Atlija. Photography grad Seth Stevenson also worked on the film along with Advanced Television and Film alumna Annie Featherstone.

Waseem’s own life inspired her to make the film. As a child, she moved from Pakistan to Switzerland and then to Canada. She says children in these situations often struggle with how to fit into a new community, but she also wanted to examine the struggles their parents face. In 2015, she made Shahzad with the support of a $40,000 grant from BravoFact. She credits Sheridan with giving her the skills to tell the story.

“I had a theatre background when I started at Sheridan,” she says. “I had to learn everything from scratch.”

Sheridan also gave her the connections she needed to pursue her career as a freelance director and editor. As a student, she worked with Sheridan’s Production House (SPH), an agency that produces videos for the college and outside clients, and offers students the chance to hone their real-life skills. Murphy is the manager of SPH. He says it’s exciting to work with other Sheridan grads to bring their projects to life. “The Production House is an incubator for successful graduates at Sheridan,” he says. “It gives them the experience they need to achieve success.”

Maija Saari agrees. “Collaboration between writers, editors, directors and cinematographers is at the core of our graduates’ success,” says the Associate Dean for the Department of Film, Television and Journalism at Sheridan. “We’re known for our hands-on, real world experiences. Sheridan gives students the confidence to become top writers, directors, producers and editors in Canada and beyond.”

Shahzad will be screened on Sept. 11 at 7p.m. and at 3p.m. on Sept. 16 at TIFF.
Photo courtesy Haya Waseem.

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