Abu: A Journey Of Self-Discovery

Canadian filmmaker Arshad Khan brings a personal journey to Toronto.

Canadian filmmaker Arshad Khan is sharing his intensely personal journey of being a gay man, an unwelcome immigrant to Canada and a Pakistani Muslim, with the rest of the world. His documentary ABU (Father) screened at this year’s BFI London Film Festival, LA Film Festival, Transatlantyk and many others. The film has won the jury prize for Best Documentary at Austin (aGLIFF), Seattle (TWIST) and Vancouver (VISAFF) and won the audience awards in Montreal (Image+Nation) and Florence (River to River Florence Indian Film Festival). The film opens at the Royal Cinema in Toronto on the 27th of December for a limited run.  

ABU is the emotional journey to the centre of a fragmented family while they grapple with religion, sexuality, colonialism and migration. Through a tapestry of narratives composed of family footage, observation and classic Bollywood films, gay-identifying Pakistani-Muslim filmmaker Arshad Khan takes viewers through the tense relationships between family and fate, conservatism and liberalism and modernity and familiarity. Soon after emigrating from Pakistan to Canada with his family, Arshad realized he was gay.

The film came about as a result of Khan making a video for his father’s memorial when he realized exactly how much footage they as a family had created over the years. “We carried cameras with us everywhere. My father loved photography and he wanted to create memories for all of us,” said Khan. “I saw the footage as an opportunity to share my ‘real’ story, but it was a huge decision to really come out and tell people things I had never shared before. It has been a truly cathartic process and although it breaks all the rules of not sharing emotions and issues outside of the family, I hope that my father would be proud.”

Five years in the making, Khan was clearly on the right path, as an award-winning Canadian filmmaker, Deepa Mehta, offered her support and experience as narration director after seeing a first cut of the film. Khan adds: “Deepa invited me to come in with her and re-record the narration, and it made a big difference. The narration is the backbone of this film. It’s so narration-driven, I had to record the narration at least 30 times!”

ABU has already won various awards including:

six awards so far including:

WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – Florence River to RIver Indian Film Festival 

WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – Image + Nation Montreal Film Festival




Award for LGBTQI CRUSADER OF THE YEAR- ANOKHI magazine – Director Arshad Khan

ABU will be screened on Wednesday 27th December, Thursday 28th December and Saturday 30th December 2017 at the Royal Cinema, 7:00 P.M. Screenings will be followed by a director’s Q&A session with Arshad Khan.

Tickets are available through the Royal Cinema website at https://www.universe.com/events/abu-tickets-toronto-TD6JYK

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pc5-h10_OY