The annual Mosquers Film Festival has grown into a year-round arts and culture movement
By Cory Schachtel | February 16, 2023
Yasir Iqbal first got involved in the Mosquers Film Festival as a fan. Back in 2007, he says, most events put on by Muslims were either explicitly religious or, sadly, in response to some kind of traumatic, Islamaphobic action done to the community. So Mosquers felt like a bit of film-based fresh air. “It was great to have the Muslim community, as well as every other community, come together for an event where the primary focus is to just enjoy art and enjoy film. The purpose of the event is just to go and have a good time. That’s what drew me towards it.”
“The event” is the film festival, which happens in the fall. But in the last 16 years, The Mosquers has grown into a bigger entity, with a podcast (The Halal Gap) and events beyond the film festival itself. Now working as outreach director, Iqbal is excited to celebrate Black History Month with The Universe is a Poem, a night of poetry, reflection and Black Muslim art.
“Even if you backtrack to like 2015, we were a team that put on one event. But since then, our team has grown significantly, including folks in Calgary, in B.C., Ontario and in the States. We’ve gone from a one hit wonder film festival to an arts and culture movement. We’re trying to help grow the arts and culture scene in Edmonton with various social events throughout the year, as well as events that are more geared towards filmmakers. This event is geared towards the general public. It’s a celebration of Black History Month featuring primarily Black artists.”
A $15 ticket will let you buy products, art and food from a variety of Black-owned businesses, while local poets and musicians enlighten and entertain, culminating with a performance from Grammy-nominated, spoken-word-poet Amir Sulaiman. The goal, beyond an enjoyable evening of music, poetry and food, is to help platform Black Muslims, something Mosquers, in its now-expanded form, plans to do more of, “because of what they’ve contributed to the culture,” Iqbal says. “But what we really want to do is just put on a fun event, something that people will come out to and enjoy while supporting these awesome artists.”