Former SAIT students have banded together to form a foundation that focuses on putting an end to racism, and they are using contemporary ways to do so.
Calgary’s Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation (CanadianCMF) started out with a group of friends at SAIT, all from different cultural backgrounds, who were passionate about multiculturalism.
The group has been around since 2009, under a different name, but officially registered last year as CanadianCMF.
Iman Bukhari, CEO and founder of CanadianCMF, works to mitigate racism and promote multiculturalism through the foundation.
“We started realizing how prevalent racism was in our society,” Bukhari said.
“As young adults we had seen it, all of us, but we really just wanted to do something about it.”
Bukhari, along with CanadianCMF, came up with the idea of hosting the 48-hour Anti-Racism Film Festival. The first of its kind, the challenge is a way for people to become more open to talking about a topic that is otherwise avoided.
“We want people to engage in these conversations because that is really how you end [racism],” Bukhari said.
“It is a taboo subject that nobody wants to talk about.”
Using film is a different way to approach racism, which is normally seen as a “sad subject,” Bukhari said. “It’s a creative take on a serious issue.
“It’s storytelling and filmmaking for a cause.”
It is a competition, and each group of contestants will be given unique challenges, such as having to use a prop or a quote in their film, to make sure that the film was produced in the 48-hour time slot.
The videos will range from two to five minutes long. Volunteers will be available with laptops and cameras to help contestants edit or film throughout the challenge.
“It’s really for everyone,” Bukhari said.
“We really hope Calgarians come out and participate.”
CanadianCMF plans to hold the challenge in a different city every year on March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The challenge launches on Feb. 12. Participants will arrive at 4:30 p.m. in That Empty Space, located in MacEwan Hall on the University of Calgary campus, with the challenge itself kicking off at 5 p.m. The challenge ends on Feb. 14 at 5 p.m.
The completed films will be showcased on March 21 at the John Dutton Theatre in downtown Calgary at 6 p.m. The whole event is free.
“We understand the power of video,” Bukhari said.
“We definitely know it can make a huge difference.”