Arshad Khan, BFA 12, is a Montreal-based film director, producer, writer and film festival strategist. Khan’s internationally acclaimed, award-winning autobiographical documentary Abu (2017) has played at film festivals around the world.
Abu documents his rocky relationship with his father after Khan came out as a gay man. It also chronicles the wider story of young gay people fighting homophobia and “invisibility within South Asian and Muslim culture.”
Khan also teaches guerilla filmmaking to underprivileged youth in Canada and Pakistan.
What are you doing now?
Arshad Khan: “I am working on a fiction feature film that uses Bollywood and Hollywood tropes in the context of an international city like Montreal in order to examine the hopes and dreams along with the prejudices that immigrants often carry with them when they come to call Canada home.”
What does being part of the LGBTQ community mean to you and how does it play into your work?
AK: “Being gay is a part of my identity, it is not something I can disassociate myself from. I tried that for many years and it did not work. Until I embraced it, I was not at peace. When I did embrace it, it opened my eyes to injustice, not just against my person but to other people as well. It allowed me to connect the dots. And this informs my work deeply.
Abu was a very personal film and I think this sincerity gives the work its edge. The LGBTQI community has been very supportive of my work and my film is also helping them speak to their own families.”
What was your Concordia experience like?
AK: “I thank Concordia for being there for me, for the great education I got there. I arrived in Montreal as a budding filmmaker and my studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema were very exciting. It was an invaluable experience which combined the technical and artistic, and was a very high-end education for a very reasonable price.”