PLURAL+ Insight 2014: Kayf Abdulqadir is commended

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Kayf Abdulqadir, a young filmmaker from Canada, has been commended for the PLURAL+ Insight Award 2014 for her film ‘3 Things You Should Know About My Hijab’

Video: ‘3 Things You Should Know About My Hijab’ (01:47 minutes)

The background to the film

This whirlwind of a film made by 23-year-old Kayf Abdulqadir only lasts just over 90 seconds, but it captures serious points about the wearing of a hijab in a fun and funky way for young people everywhere.Kayf2

‘3 Things You Should Know About My Hijab’ showcases three common misconceptions behind the practice of Muslim women covering their heads.

The film brilliantly succeeds in making Kayf’s frustrations with stereotypes of how the hijab is perceived into an inclusive celebration of the joy of being young and confident.

‘3 Things You Should Know About My Hijab’ impressed the judges of the PLURAL+ Insight Award 2014 so much that Kayf has been commended for her film.

Kayf comes from Ottawa in Canada and has Somali roots, which shine through in her filmmaking about her background and her faith. Her family escaped the Somali civil war in early 1990s, which has had a profound influence on her film interests and ambitions.

Kayf is one half of the creative partnership, Specs & Veils Productions, and is studying interactive multimedia design at Algonquin College in Ottawa. Kayf manages two YouTube channels that showcase her work: Specs & Veils; and The Cool Ciyaal (ciyaal means ‘kids’ in Somali).

Kayf first came to national attention in Canada with the viral popularity of her YouTube video ’10 Types of Somali Girls’, which was seen by nearly a million people online. This phenomenal success drew the attention of the Canadian mainstream media. Kayf and her Specs & Veils partner, Fartousa Siyad, were interviewed on the CBC regional radio show Ottawa Morning on 24 January 2012 (podcast, 07:59 minutes).

Speaking at the United Nations Association of Canada’s ‘Multimedia and Multiculturalism’ conference in February 2012, Kayf said:

Our dream jobs in the media industry are to be the CEOs, director, producer and writers in our own production company while also operating a charity organisation under the same name.

We will run the business side of our company, but we also want to direct, produce, act in and write some of our media pieces. Our production company will create and fund an array of different media pieces, from web-series, comedic skits to documentaries, biographies and films. One of the main functions of the company is to afford opportunities to Somali individuals who are inspiring artists or figures in the media.

Our charity organisation will be dedicated to inspiring, teaching and empowering youth. We will operating different workshops, weekly drop-ins, camps, online videos, conferences etc. all aimed to empower Somali youth, racialised individuals and individuals from marginalised communities and help them realise their limitless potential and to gain the confidence to ink their dreams into reality. We hope to be operating all over the world. The organisation will also use the media and the work our production company will be doing to help illustrate our points and also offer opportunities for the youth to get involved and create.

You can read an interview with Kayf conducted by Kate at Voices of Youth, UNICEF’s online place for young people to learn more about issues affecting their world.