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Prof's documentaries featured in historic Komagata Maru apology

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Cinema and Media Arts Chair Ali Kazimi

On May 18, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a formal apology in the House of Commons around the Komagata Maru, a ship carrying 376 Indians which the Canadian government refused to allow to come ashore in B.C. in 1914. In recognition of his longstanding engagement with the social and political issues surrounding the Komagata Maru and the century-long reverberations of attendant “White Canada” immigration policies, Department of Cinema and Media Arts Professor Ali Kazimi was invited to Ottawa to witness the apology.

Continuous Journey

Excerpts from Kazimi’s award-winning 2004 feature documentary Continuous Journey were screened in the House of Commons as part of the occasion. He had the opportunity to speak to Trudeau and present him with a copy of his book Undesirables:White Canada and the Komagata Maru (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011). Kazimi’s other projects on the topic include the immersive stereoscopic 3D installation Fair Play, which depicts the lives of ordinary people who were affected by the Komagata Maru.

Kazimi was interviewed on the issue by numerous media outlets, including the Toronto Star, CBC and CTV.

CineSiege 2015 spotlights top student films

CineSiege Winners

The 13th annual CineSiege juried festival of top York U student films packed the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema on October 20. Best Fiction Film went to Kristina Mileska’s Asteroid (which also won for sound design). The jury applauded Mileska’s “simple, yet poignant story” of a young girl’s relationship with her dying grandfather. Jack Weis’s Haunted by Presence was awarded Best Documentary. Jurors hailed it as “a strong, confident, mature and multi-layered documentary” deploying confessional work, verité and constructed storytelling. Gebriel Abebe Balcha’s  Fear and Jeffrey Holiday’s Rough Housing tied to win Best Alternative Film. For the full list of awards visit the CineSiege 2015 website.

Cinema & Media Arts launches study abroad course

CMA Students in Berlin

In June 2015 twelve graduate and upper-level undergraduate students participated in the Department of Cinema & Media Arts’ first summer study abroad course — Berlin: The Modern Metropolis, Theories of Modernity and Early Film Theory. The course was taught by Professor Temenuga Trifonova on location in Berlin. During their three-week stay, students explored theories of modernity and early film theory by revisiting the most important film and cultural criticism of the 1920s by historians, cultural theorists, artists, philosophers, writers and journalists whose work was shaped by their experience of Berlin. An important reference in the course was the rich history of the “flâneur” as a quintessential figure of modernity.

“The course was an absolute dream!” said MA student Sennah Yee. “Studying course material with the class and then experiencing it on such an intimate level in the city itself, whether through its museums and archives or the everyday (and night!) streets, was immensely rewarding. Another highlight was the friendships I made. Many of us made lasting connections with people we may not have met otherwise, and we felt like a unique little family by the end of the trip.”


York film grads pool talent and production skills to launch YEAR: Zombie Apocalypse web series A group of York University film graduates is offering a new take on the Zombie genre with the web series YEAR, launched Jan. 28 at the MOD Club in downtown Toronto.