Awards Ceremony

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The Awards Ceremony caps off MENA 5 by recognizing this year’s programming highlights. Join us for an afternoon of food, music, and a celebration of MENA 5’s best films! The award categories to be presented are:

  • Scarlet Pomegranate for best overall film, one each for Feature and Short categories.
  • Buraq for best alternative and experimental take on MENA/SWANA identity, one each for Feature and Short categories.
  • Audience choice based on tallied votes from both the in-person and virtual screenings, one each for Feature and Short categories.
  • Azure Phoenix awarded to a single artist partaking in this year’s festival selection who successfully creates a compelling representation of the MENA/SWANA region and its diaspora through a distinctive effort, visual performance or artistic innovation.

Join us after the Closing ceremony for the after party at The Cobalt starting at 9:00pm.


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Land Greetings



Meet our Jury



Summer Pervez

Born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents, Summer grew up in multiple countries and was educated in American schools. They hold a PhD in English from the University of Ottawa, and have been teaching in various universities in Canada and Pakistan since 2002, including the University of the Fraser Valley, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and the Lahore School of Economics. They specialize in World Literature and Film, with a focus on South Asia, and have published a range of articles on literature, film, and music. They most recently taught screenwriting for film and television at the Vancouver Film School, and will soon be joining Forman Christian College University in Lahore as an Associate Professor. They are currently writing a monograph on contemporary Pakistani TV dramas. Along with research and teaching, they are also a working filmmaker (shorts, features, and docs).

Mila Zuo

Dr. Mila Zuo is an associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at UBC. Her research areas include transnational Asian cinemas, film-philosophy, and critical theories of gender, sexuality, and race and ethnicity. Her book Vulgar Beauty: Acting Chinese in the Global Sensorium(Duke University Press, 2022) focuses on the affective racialization of Chinese women film stars, demonstrating the ways which vulgar, flavourful beauty disrupts western and colonial notions of beauty. Accompanying research can be found in Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, Celebrity Studies Journal, Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Feminist Media Histories journal, and in various anthologies on contemporary cinema and media studies. In addition to her scholarly work, Zuo writes, directs, and produces narrative films, visual essays, documentaries, and music videos. Her short films have screened in international film festivals and universities, including Carnal Orient(2016) which premiered at Slamdance Film Festival, and her short narrative film Kin (2021), which was the recipient of the 2019 Oregon Media Arts Fellowship, and screened at HollyShorts Film Festival. She is currently working on her third film, Mongoloids, a hybrid docu-fiction project about the Chinese Cultural Revolution and its impacts across generations. This research creation work is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Insight Development Grant. 

Amir Honarmand

Amir Honarmand is an Iranian writer, director and producer based in Vancouver. After graduating from the Toronto Film School in 2006, Amir has contributed to various short and feature films. His shorts have participated at the São Paulo ISFF, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, Brussels Short Film Festival, ShortShorts, Tirana IFF and Fantasia.

Additionally, Amir serves as a Technical Director at Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Yuna Fahim

Yuna graduated from Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran, Iran and has worked for Iranian National and International television and has produced documentaries for Iranian International Television. He was artistic director of the international section of the Tehran International Short Film Festival, where he also was head of the programming committee as well as being director of international affairs at Iranian Youth Cinema Society. He has organized several short film events inside and outside Iran. Since moving to Canada in 2019, he has been programming for Nostalgia (Italy) and Show Me Shorts (New Zealand’s Oscar qualifying film festival) as well as being a board member of international Short Film Conference since 2018. He is the director of Close-Up International Short Film Festival in Vancouver, Canada.


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 and Gifts
 provided by:
Thursday, February 1, 2024
4:00 pm
Online Only
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Online Only