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Ali Kazimi

Faculty Profile Image

Cinema & Media Arts

Ali Kazimi


Professor

akazimi@yorku.ca

Education

BSc (St. Stephen's, Delhi), BFA (York),

Biography

Professor Ali Kazimi (pronounced Ka-Zim-E) is filmmaker, writer, and visual artist whose work deals with race, social justice, migration, history, memory and archive. In 2019 he received the  Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts, as well as a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa from the University of British Columbia. In 2023 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

His critically acclaimed films have been shown at festivals around the world, winning national and international honours and awards. His awards include the Donald Brittain/Gemini Award for Best Social/Political Documentary; Golden Gate Award, San Fran. Intl. Film Fest; Golden Conch, Mumbai International Film Festival; Best Director & Best Political Documentary, Hot Docs and Audience Awards for Best Documentary at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival and Los Angeles Indian Film Festival. His most recent feature documentary Beyond Extinction: Sinixt Resurgence premiered at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival in May 2023. The film won the People's Choice Award at the Planet In Focus Canadian International Environmental Film Festival, and was screened as part of the prestigious Front Light program at the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam.

Kazimi’s retrospectives count the 1998 Images Festival of Independent Film & Video (Toronto), Pacific Film Archives/Berkeley Art Museum (2006), Mumbai International Film Festival (2008),ViBGYOR International Documentary Film Festival in Thissur, India, (2009), and the Artist Spotlight at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (2021).  On the small screen, his productions have been broadcast nationally (CBC, TVO, Vision TV, CBC Newsworld, Knowledge Network and SCN) and internationally (Channel 4/UK, PBS/USA).

Kazimi has also served as cinematographer for productions such as the Genie Award-winning A Song for Tibet (1992), My Niagara (1993), Bollywood Bound (2001) and The Journey of Lesra Martin (2002), Fig Trees (2008) and Rex versus Singh (2009).

Kazimi is the recipient of a prestigious John R. Evans Leaders Fund, from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to set up the Stereoscopic 3D Lab @York. He was the founding filmmaker in 3DFLIC (3D Film Innovation Consortium) an inter-disciplinary academic/industry partnership (2009-12). His stereoscopic 3D installations have been shown in galleries across Canada, and one of them Fair Play (2014) is now in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

In 2012, Kazimi authored the nationally acclaimed book, Undesirables: White Canada and the Komagata Maru – An Illustrated History (Douglas & McIntyre) which was a finalist for the 2012 City of Vancouver Book Award and the 2013 BC Book Prizes (Roedrick Haig-Brown Regional Prize).

He has mentored and supervised several graduate students whose thesis films have received critical acclaim, among them Kathleen Mullen – Breathtaking (2010), Jorge Lozano – Moving Still-still life (2010), Zaheed Mawani –Three Walls (2011). Mawani’s thesis film,  won awards in Oberhausen and Atlanta and was nominated for Best Short Documentary for the Canadian Screen Awards (2013); Vicki Lean’s documentary Until the Last River won the Nigel Moore Award for Youth Programming at DOXA (2015) and was nominated for the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary, Canadian Screen Awards 2017.

He served as Department Chair from 2015 to 2016, and was promoted to in 2022. In 2021, Ali Kazimi was elected as a Senior Fellow at Massey College

Films

Beyond Extinction: Sinixt Resurgence (2022)

Random Acts of Legacy (2016)

Hazardous (2011)

Rex versus Singh (2009)

Runaway Grooms (2005)

Continuous Journey (2004)

Documenting Dissent (2001)

Shooting Indians: A Journey with Jeffrey Thomas (1997)

Narmada: A Valley Rises (1994)

Installations

Unseen (2020)

Fair Play (2014)

Oceans Within (2012)

Publications

Undesirables: White Canada and the Komagata Maru (Douglas & McIntrye, 2012)