Asif Kapadia to receive inaugural Trailblazer Award at MIFF

May 14, 2024

The inaugural edition of the Muslim International Film Festival (MIFF) runs May 30th – June 2nd in London’s Leicester Square. As well as championing new and upcoming filmmakers and talent, MIFF celebrates and honours individuals who have already made innovative contributions to the film industry with the festival’s Trailblazer Award.

MIFF is to present the inaugural Trailblazer Award to Asif Kapadia.

Asif Kapadia is an Academy Award, Grammy and four-time BAFTA winning Director / Writer / Producer. Kapadia is known for his emotionally engaging, visually striking, genre-breaking films exploring ‘outsiders’ in extreme circumstances. Working in drama and documentaries, Kapadia is best known for his trilogy of narratively driven, archive constructed documentaries Senna, Amy & Diego Maradona. 

His debut feature film The Warrior shot in India, starring Irrfan Khan was nominated for three BAFTAs, winning Best British Film and Best Debut Film. Far North starring Michelle Yeoh premiered at the Venice Film Festival. His fourth feature Senna, the story of Brazilian motor racing legend Ayrton Senna, was nominated for three BAFTAs, winning Best Documentary and Best Editing. It broke UK box office records to become the highest grossing British Documentary of all time. Amy, about singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse then overtook Senna to become the most successful British Documentary of all time, winning numerous awards including the Academy Award, BAFTA, European Film Award, a Grierson Award and a Grammy for Best Documentary.

Asif Kapadia says: “For me working on films was like running away with the circus. I found a home and a family, I have been lucky to travel, collaborate with the most extraordinary people, create work which I hope will stand the test of time, films which have moved and engaged with people around the world. A recurring theme in my work is my interest in exploring ‘outsiders’, those who may not conform or fit into the power systems around them. Becoming a film director, a writer, producer or indeed working on the crew in the film industry, isn’t an obvious or simple choice for someone born in Hackney to working class British Indian Muslim parents during the 70s. But I feel lucky that I found filmmaking. It changed my life.

“It’s a great honour to receive the Trailblazer Award from the Muslim International Film Festival, it’s important to show that people from all faiths and backgrounds can be successful and there should never be any boundaries or limits for what we are able to say, create or express through our art.”

Sajid Varda, Festival Director of the Muslim International Film Festival adds: “In honouring Asif Kapadia with the inaugural Trailblazer Award at the Muslim International Film Festival, we celebrate not just his exceptional talent but also his resilience as a visionary filmmaker from a minority community. Through his remarkable body of work, marked by cinematic excellence and profound storytelling, Kapadia has not only conquered industry challenges but has also garnered international acclaim. His journey showcases that with steely determination, any filmmaker irrespective of background can defy odds and redefine possibilities in the world of cinema.”

Asif Kapadia will be presented with the Trailblazer Award during the festivals opening gala London Premiere of HOUNDS (dir: Kamal Lazaraq, Morocco/France/Belgium) at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on 30 May, followed by a reception at LSQ Rooftop sponsored by the Aziz Foundation.

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