The Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival MISAFF

World-class Cinema in your home

November 25th, 2021

MISAFF Digital Festival Pass On Sale

After the success of its very first online edition in 2020, Canada’s leading South Asian film festival, the Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF), is returning for a ninth year in December 2021 with a special hybrid edition. Presented by the Canadian Community Arts Initiative (CCAI), MISAFF will host the world premiere of DONKEYHEAD from Canadian filmmaker Agam Darshi. The film is the centrepiece of this year’s incredible lineup and will be screened on December 2nd at 6 pm at an in-person red carpet gala at TIFF Bell Lightbox (300 King Street West).

Tickets to the World Premiere & Opening Ceremony are $30 + tax and fees. CLICK TO BUY.
The rest of the program will be available for viewing online, running from December 1st – December 5th, 2021. MISAFF is showcasing 10 fiction films, 4 documentaries and 28 shorts from Canada, India, the USA, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, UK and Bangladesh. This year, the festival has chosen films that highlight stories of connection and belonging with a central theme of “cinema that unites us”

“MISAFF pivoted online last year due to COVID, and we are thrilled that this year we are able to offer an in-person experience to an extremely important Canadian feature film, alongside a compelling virtual lineup,” said Festival Director Arshad Khan. “Cinema has been there for us in our most vulnerable and isolated times and we are happy to be able to curate films that speak to the community and reflect how we feel.”

This year at MISAFF, we aim to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh, bookending the festival with films from Bangladesh for the opening night and closing night of the festival (only available online). We invite you to visit the Art Gallery of Mississauga where Ali Adil Khan has set up a special major exhibition of contemporary art by Bangladesh Artists. The exhibition runs until the middle of January 2022.

Notable films at the festival include opening night film SALT IN OUR WATERS directed by Rezwan Shahrir Sumit, a Bangladeshi film about climate change that was just presented at the COP26 summit in Europe to great acclaim, and the Canadian feature QUICKENING directed by Haya Waseem, about a young woman with anxiety caused by the stresses at home combined with first love heartbreak, which recently premiered at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival. Other highlights include the North American premiere of the Cannes award-winner REHANA MARIAM NOOR directed by Abdullah Mohammad Saad, IN THE RUMBLING BELLY OF THE MOTHERLAND directed by Brishkay Ahmed, ADIEU GODARD directed by Amartya Bhattaraiyya, BITTERSWEET directed by Ananth Narayan Mahadevan, and the Oscar buzzworthy FLEE directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen.

This year, MISAFF’s selection of short films are divided into five themes – Canadian Shorts, Longing and Belonging, Through her Lens, Stories from the Town, and Growing Pains. The films were chosen for their creativity in storytelling, cinematic artistry, and unique perspectives. Top picks include Followers directed by Gavin Seal which explores the theme of our collective addiction to screens and social media; Defund directed by Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah and Araya Mengesha about millennial twins who are trapped in their apartment and trying to stay sane at the height of the 2020 pandemic; Sandstorm: Pakistani – British filmmaker Seemab Gul’s film premiered at Venice this year, an incredible contemplation on cell phone culture and exploitation; Happy Anniversary: Indian filmmaker Dhruv Satija examines a middle-aged couple’s rocky relationship; Out Swing: Pakistani filmmaker Samar Minallah documents the struggles of a girls cricket team and the way they gain confidence through the sport; Coming out with the help of a Time Machine: US filmmaker Naman Gupta uses Groundhog Day as his inspiration to tell the story of a young man struggling with coming out to his parents. 

In addition to the films, this year’s festival is offering Q&As with the filmmakers. The 2021 MISAFF Star presented by ACTRA Diversity is actor and filmmaker Ganesh Thava.

Buy MISAFF Digital Festival Pass for $20 +tax and fees here

For a full list of films and the schedule, please visit:

Watch the MISAFF21 Trailer


In 2012, the Canadian Community Arts Initiative, a registered non-profit organization in Mississauga engaged Arshad Khan and Anya Mckenzie to take the small film component of the Mosaic outdoor Festival of Mississauga to the next level. Arshad Khan and Anya Mckenzie were inspired by the renaissance in South Asian cinema taking place around the world and seized the opportunity to create an avid cinephile audience and community in the City of Mississauga by launching the MOSAIC INTERNATIONAL SOUTH ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL (MISAFF). The pair were determined to celebrate and raise awareness about new voices in South Asian cinema. With the help of CCAI and Mosaic Festival (North America’s largest free event celebrating South Asian arts and culture) as a springboard, MISAFF was able to leverage an established cultural brand to attract film audiences in the region. Since then, MISAFF has evolved with Festival Director Arshad Khan and now Advisory Board Director Anya Mckenzie at the forefront and the support of their collaborative partners Canadian Community Arts Initiative. Canadian film artists such as Deepa Mehta, Ali Kazimi, Rajkumar Rao, Sami Khan, Anita Majumdar, Raymond Ablack, Syed Fuad Ahmed, Shireen Pasha, Supinder Wraich and Richie Mehta have been involved in the festival over the years and MISAFF attracts acclaimed international artists as well including Anu Menon, Rajat Kapoor, Ravi Patel, Afia Nathaniel, Hansal Mehta and Suraj Sharma. MISAFF features the best of new South Asian film titles and is now a definitive voice in the Mississauga community due to the quality of film selections that build on social consciousness and respect for the community.

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