Ali Kazimi’s Citation

MR. CHANCELLOR, Ali Kazimi is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, author and media artist, whose films have been celebrated at festivals around the world.

He is also Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Arts in the School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University. His body of work tackles complex issues of race, social justice, migration, history and memory.

In particular, his work has grappled with the South Asian immigrant experience in Canada, and perhaps most compellingly in the 2004 film Continuous Journey, which recounts the 1914 incident in which the Komagata Maru, a vessel filled with South Asian immigrants, was turned away in Vancouver Harbour.

His engaging and haunting film about the Komagata Maru takes on the history of the ship, the experience of its passengers, and the reality of anti-Asian racism in Canada in the early decades of the twentieth century as well as its relevance today.

He has also engaged interculturally with Canadian Indigenous experiences, such as in the pioneering and influential documentary, Shooting Indians: A Journey with Jeffrey Thomas, about a self-described urban Iroquois photographer.

He has earned numerous accolades for his work, including Best Director from Toronto’s Hot Docs Festival, a Golden Gate Award from the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Golden Plaque from the Chicago Film Festival and a Golden Conch from the Mumbai International Film Festival. In addition, he very recently received a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts for Lifetime Achievement.

Mr. Chancellor, in recognition of his achievements as an author and filmmaker, and for casting a light on the gaps in race, indigeneity and immigration history in this country, I ask you to confer the degree Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, upon ALI ASGHAR KAZIMI.