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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Riz Ahmed to head the Platform jury for Toronto Film Festival 2021

The acclaimed British-Pakistani actor and rapper is nominated as the President of Platform Jury for the TIFF 2021. Earlier the festival had screened Ahmed’s film ‘The Sound of Metal’ that eventually got nominated for Oscars.

Riz Ahmed, the British-Pakistani actor, and rapper has been nominated as the President of Platform Jury at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2021.

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world, attracting over 480,000 people annually. The event will take place from 9th to 18th September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This year TIFF will be a combination of a digital and an in-person festival keeping in mind the covid-19 restrictions.

Ahmed will head the Platform jury, with further jurors to be announced soon. He previously appeared in the 2019 TIFF Platform title Sound Of Metal, which went on to achieve six Oscar nominations – including best actor for Ahmed – and two wins, in best sound and best film editing.


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“I am honored to be named president of the Platform jury at TIFF this year. TIFF has always been a festival that showcases bold and daring cinema on a global stage. Its commitment to celebrating small independent films, like Sound of Metal has had such a significant impact on my career and many others,” Riz Ahmed said. He further said, “I’m looking forward to watching all of this year’s selections and working alongside my fellow jury members.”

Read More: US President Biden has nominated a Pakistani-American to his economic team

Support for emerging Muslim artists

Riz Ahmed has also teamed up with organizations that will offer $25,000 awards to emerging Muslim storytellers, directors, and screenwriters. Ahmed has promised to provide mentorship and professional development to those selected for the awards. Applications can be submitted now through September 1.

The actor has been collaborating with organizations like The Ford Foundation and Pillars Fund, along with his own production company Left Handed Films, to understand and highlight the misrepresentation of Muslims in the media industry.

They commissioned a USC Annenberg study that looked at 200 popular films between 2017 and 2019. The study found less than 2% of speaking roles were Muslim characters; 1.1% of characters in 100 US films were Muslim: most were men, and their roles are largely linked to violence. None of the characters in animated films were Muslim, and diversity was not broadly reflected.

“The progress that’s being made by a few of us doesn’t paint an overall picture of progress if most of the portrayals of Muslims on screen is still either nonexistent or entrenched in those stereotypical toxic two-dimensional portrayals,” said Ahmed during a recent briefing of the initiative he’s helping lead.

“People don’t just wake up hating Muslims. They believe a story, a story that we have to look at ourselves and ask whether we are complicit in perpetuating. The Islamophobia industry is one that measures its cost in blood.” He added

The Indian-American comedian Hasan Minhaj is also part of this initiative along with names like Mahershala Ali, Nida Manzoor, and Ramy Youssef.