PLURAL+ interview: Kayf Abdulqadir (Voices of Youth)

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Our friends at Voices of Youth (VOY) have kindly given Insight permission to republish an interview conducted today by UNICEF in New York City.

The interview


Voices of Youth met Kayf Abdulqadir, a young filmmaker from Canada, and asked her some questions. Her video ‘3 Things You Should Know About My Hijab’ is the runner up for the Insight Award in this year’s PLURAL+ festival.

VOY: What is your video about?

Kayf:  We decided to do a film about the most common questions that most hijabis get and we wanted to film it in a way that would showcase our personalities. So we went with a more quirky approach. Most of the time we are perceived in a negative light, and by ‘we’ I mean the community of women that wears the hijab. That alone was our motivation to create something more upbeat and light-hearted.

VOY: Why do you think global audiences need to see your film?

Kayf: We want to change the way Muslim women are portrayed today in the media. Many people have a preconceived notion that we are dull, oppressed with no sense of humour. I beg to differ. C’mon, you’re talking to the two time reigning champion of ‘knock-knock’ jokes in Canada! But in all seriousness, I think it’s important for people to see that side of us .

VOY: What was the most memorable moment from the filmmaking process?

Kayf: It was getting one of the actresses (Sarah) to jump in the shower fully clothed for one of the scenes. It was quite funny because originally we were going to just sort of fake the motions of somebody taking a shower but she insisted we commit to the scene and actually turn the shower on.

VOY: Why do you think it is important for young people to make videos and other multimedia products?

Kayf: How else would our voices be heard? How else would we represent ourselves and our individual journeys? We are living in a time where media is everywhere and extremely accessible to most people. Everyone wants someone they could relate to and by having social media sites such YouTube, which can reach big audiences from your bedroom, it is important now more than ever to use these tools.

VOY: This year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child -what role do you think youth media makers can play in teaching children about their rights?

Kayf: They can be role models and teachers. I think youth to youth interaction is the most powerful connection because they can relate to us and also be less intimidated sharing their ideas.

VOY: Are you working on any other films right now? Is there a particular film project or story that you’d really like to tell?

Kayf: There is always something in the works … Specs and Veil on YouTube is where it all started and it has our most popular video ‘Somali Problems’ and also our newest video ‘Chronicles of a Somali Girl’.

Source: ‘PLURAL+ Awards 2014: “3 Things You Should Know About My Hijab” ‘ by Kate at VOY