When The Mosquers wrapped up its festival in 2019, the event organizers had no idea there wouldn’t be another one for a while.
“We were actually considering planning to return in November or October 2021, but the COVID situation made us feel like it was irresponsible to return at that time,” says Yasir Iqbal, outreach director of The Mosquers. “So we pushed it a little bit forward to March. You never know what’s going to happen.”
The Mosquers is a festival that celebrates Muslim arts and filmmaking. Each year consists of a showcase of international and local short films followed by an awards ceremony.
The Mosquers received 100 submissions for this year’s festival, which is double what it usually receives. Seven international and three Alberta films will be screened, and the filmmakers won’t know if their work is chosen until the night of the festival.
Two local filmmakers, Beth Wishart MacKenzie and Ibrahim Cin, are hopeful their Edmonton-made film will be screened at the festival. The pair co-wrote, co-directed and co-produced The Final Exam, a short film about a woman who is forced to remove her religious headscarf to write a test in school. The film is a creative response to the passing of Bill 21 in Québec, legislation that prohibits public service employees in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols while on duty. The film is based on a true story.
“We always felt that this would be the ideal festival to share our film in, and I’m so proud that Edmonton has this phenomenal festival,” says MacKenzie. “We were really thrilled that they’re considering it as a finalist. So we look forward to going to The Mosquers and maybe we’ll see our film on the big screen.”
The 13th annual Mosquers Film Festival is on March 12 at the Winspear Centre. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m. General admission tickets for the festival are $29.99.