Nelofer Pazira gained quite a bit of notoriety last fall after the North-American release of the film Kandahar. The semi-documentary is the story of a Canadian journalist and Afghan exile, played by Pazira, who attempts to return to her homeland to help her sister, who is depressed and suicidal as a result of Taliban rule. Kandahar is based on Pazira’s own story: she and her family emigrated to Canada from Afghanistan in 1989, when she was 16, and Pazira did attempt to go back to her homeland to help a suicidal childhood friend in the 1990s.
The film won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury in Cannes last May and had its North American release at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8th, 2001, three days before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. As wrote The New York Times, “….there was sudden resonance for this Iranian film about Afghanistan”.
Pazira has a journalism degree from Carleton University and is now completing her Masters at Concordia University. She is currently working on a documentary film about the Taliban madrasas (religious schools) in Pakistan and is actively involved in numerous organizations, including the Canadian Council of Muslim Women.