Sunday, August 31, 2008

Central Asia Premiere - Dushanbe, Tajikistan - Pictures

We did it, we did it, we did it.
When I wanted to screen the Aga Khan Film in Tajikistan, I did not know how difficult it would be. Thank you to the certain key people, you know who you are, who made it happen and would not take no for an answer.
These pictures are in reverse order but nevertheless, the celebration pictures are the most important so here they are first:

Musicians and music from the region.

Dancing, Tajik style.

A full-house: standing-room only please.

This gentleman on the left complimented the film during the Q+A session, saying how for him, as a non-Ismaili, this was very useful and he thinks this is an excellent piece to show to many others.

A small world: The lady in the middle I had actually met just over a year ago in Kenya when I was trying to capture the essense of the East African Ismailis' stories. She had just arrived from Afghanistan, heard the film was playing and showed up. It was nice to see her. She recalled the struggle we had a year ago in the context of how it all worked out in the end.

My translator and a new friend, Shodi, trying to remember everything I am saying so he can translate accurately.

Q+A with the audience.

The audience waiting for the screening to start. This venue, an open-air museum, was probably one of the coolest we have ever screened in.

Here I am sooooooo happy that we figured out a solution to the challenges of screening in Dushanbe!
So this weekend we celebrate, tomorrow we can rant about the unjustifiably MASSIVE challenges, created by various organizations, of screening a film here in Tajikistan . To be continued on Monday...

ASIA-Plus Article on Tajikistan Premiere

Documentary “An Islamic Conscience: the Aga Khan and the Ismailis” to be shown in Dushanbe on August 29

23.08.2008 10:51

Author: Daler Ghufronov

DUSHANBE, August 23, 2008, Asia-Plus -- Central Asia Premiere of documentary “An Islamic Conscience: the Aga Khan and the Ismailis” will be held at Dom Kino in Dushanbe on August 29.
Speaking in an interview with Asia-Plus, the film producer, Mr. Shamir Alibhai, said that “An Islamic Conscience: the Aga Khan and the Ismailis” is an independent documentary feature film directed by multiple Emmy-award winning filmmaker Bill Cran. It was first broadcast nationally on television in Canada and has been screening all over the world including at Harvard, Stanford, London, and East Africa.

The film is about His Highness the Aga Khan, who became Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims on July 11, 1957 and his efforts to promote dialogue between civilizations.

Born into a world of wealth and privilege, he devotes his life to eliminating poverty and inequality. A religious leader who traces his ancestry back to the Prophet Muhammad, he struggles to balance the traditional with the modern.

For the past five decades, the Aga Khan has been the spiritual leader and Imam of the 15 million Ismaili Muslims in a world that has changed dramatically. From the end of colonialism and the expulsion of the Asians in Uganda to the fall of the Iron Curtain and 9/11, the Aga Khan has struggled for a common humanity in a divided world.

At a time when Islam is at odds with itself and with the West, the Aga Khan represents a voice of moderation, speaking out for pluralism and diversity, and promoting dialogue between civilizations. But will he be heard?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Central Asia Premiere!

Dear Supporter
Since we started making this film, we saw how often times those with the loudest voices were the only ones to get heard and how those in power like to impose it on the rest of the people. We wanted to fight for the silenced ones. We aspired to tell the story of a community and its Imam that has never been told through the medium of film before. We aspired to show a side of Islam that is often not covered in the media these days. And, as one does when the going gets tough, you put your head in the clouds way up there to find some peace and sanctity. For me, “the clouds” was an aspiration to do a BIG premiere in Tajikistan. Bringing the film to the Tajiks has been important to me, but they are part of a metaphor: a symbol for all those who have been marginalized, faced hardship and struggle, and whose lives should be at least a little bit easier.
This week, those clouds come down to earth and the dream becomes a reality. This week the film premieres in Tajikistan.

Stay up-to-date (based on as much Internet access I can get!) via the blog

And thank you to all those who have supported and bought the film. Your support has allowed us to make screenings in remote places possible including probably Central Asia’s first premiere of a foreign film in decades! :)

Best wishes,

Friday, August 15, 2008

AN ISLAMIC CONSCIENCE wins 2nd place at Festival

Bayou City Inspirational Film Festival

BCIFF 2008 Jury Awards

Best Investigative/ Political Documentary

1st Place- Drug Wars: Silver or Lead-Rusty Fleming

2nd Place-An Islamic Conscience- Shamir Allibhai

3rd Place- Documented America: The I Word- CJ Raef

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Follow-up from the Seattle Screening


An Islamic Conscience — One of Tasveer's best events!

We had a very insightful screening and discussion on Sunday on the documentary An Islamic Conscience. Many thanks to Chaya's Peaceful Families Taskforce and the Ismaili community for taking the lead on this event.

Some quotes from audience members:

“This film captured the respect and love that Ismailis have for their spiritual leader.”

“I really liked the film. I am glad it covered the expulsion of Asians of Uganda. This was an important event in our [Ismaili] history.”

“This film is relevant and important for all Muslims, not just Ismailis... Actually its important for everyone to watch it... it covered 9/11 and the work of Aga Khan in the post-9/11 world, especially in Afghanistan.” - Riz

“The environment was really nice and the event exceeded my expectations. I really liked the ideas that came up during the post-film discussion.” - Heena

“Two Thumbs for the moderator [Natasha Merchant]!” - Hafiz

Tasveer has An Islamic Conscience DVDs for sale. Contact for more info.

Tasveer is a Northwest non-profit dedicated to promoting Independent South Asian cinema.