Mehwish Hayat and Lena Khan become first promoters of British Muslim film

Actor and activist Mehwish Hayat (“Ms. Marvel”) and writer-director Lena Khan (“Never Have I Ever”) have been announced as the inaugural patrons of the UK Muslim Film (UKMF) charity.

UKMF works to change perspectives by championing underrepresented talent and voices, both on screen and behind the camera, and also advises the entertainment industry on how to authentically portray Muslims on screen.

Hayat, whose successful films in Pakistan include Actor in Law, Punjab Nahi Jaungi, Load Wedding and Chhalawa, has spoken widely on human rights abuses on the global stage and has been particularly vocal about the portrayal of human rights abuses Muslims in the mainstream media.

Hayat said: “The representation of Muslims on screen is something I have worked tirelessly to highlight over the past few years. Misrepresentations have done us untold damage and I sincerely believe they have fueled the rise of Islamophobia. At UKMF I look forward to working with the industry to ensure that the way we are portrayed on screen, if not positively, is at least a lot fairer.”

“As Muslims, it is equally incumbent upon us to tell our own stories. I am delighted that UKMF will support emerging Muslim talent and help them bring their work to a wider audience,” added Hayat.

UKMF will be hosting a pop-up cinematic event in Edgbaston on August 13th to celebrate the work of Khan, the director of the original Disney film Flora & Ulysses.

Khan said: “Representation in film and television is literally changing our cultural landscape – for better or for worse. It influences politics, how we see people, how we treat each other. And it’s not that hard to do. I hope we can continue to expand the scope and quality of how our fellow human beings are seen on screen and enjoy the ride and the stories along the way.”

Sajid Varda, who worked and starred on Khan’s The Tiger Hunter, founded UKMF and the upcoming inaugural Muslim International Film Festival to encourage the creative endeavors of Muslims around the world.

Varda said: “We have a lot of work to do to change perceptions in the media and in the display industry in particular. With the addition of Mehwish and Lena to the team, we’re incredibly hopeful that together we can change the script.” Mehwish Hayat and Lena Khan become first promoters of British Muslim film

Charles Jones

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