Exclusive: Canadian sales company APL Films has bought the international sales rights to the drama by Canadian-British writer and director Shamim Sharif. polarizedA love story between two women separated by caste and religion.
The film will be screened in the market as part of Telefilm Canada’s Perspectives Canada initiative.
Holly Deux co-stars as a white farm worker who is fired for racism and then falls in love with her Palestinian boss, played by Maxine Dennis.
“I love pushing the boundaries of how women of color are portrayed,” says Sarif. “With polarizedI believe this is the first time in cinema that we’re seeing Palestinian immigrants onscreen who are successful, driving scientific innovation, and in the case of the co-protagonist Dahlia, it’s weird.”
The filmmaker says he draws on his own experiences as well as those of his wife and producer Hanan Kattan, who is of Palestinian heritage.
“I grew up in a South Asian Muslim family, so this particular immigrant experience is very familiar to us. We know firsthand the challenges and taboos that exist around being queer in Eastern and Muslim cultures,” she explained.
polarized This is Sarif’s fifth feature, with previous credits Despite the snow.
Katan is produced under the Enlightenment Productions banner with Juliet Hagopian of Juliet Inc.
The film was shot against Manitoba’s prairie landscape with support from Canada Media Fund, Telefilm Canada, CBC, Manitoba Film and Music and Creative Europe Media, as well as regional tax incentives.
Sarif says the context is integral to the story and its characters.
“I wanted a rural world where time moves slowly, and where there is a sense of isolation and emptiness, where small moments, touches, smiles, can affect our characters more deeply,” he said.
Other cast members are Tara Samuel and Adam Hartig, Hesham Hammoud, Abraham Asto and Baraka Rahmani.
Cinematography by Greg Nicode and Arabesque score by Kevin Cronin.
Sarif is repped by Dave Brown of Echo Lake Entertainment.