Culture & Lifestyle / CBC To Release Documentary ‘Muneeza In The Middle’

CBC To Release Documentary ‘Muneeza In The Middle’

Culture & Lifestyle Dec 30, 2014


Hoda Elatawi Tells The Story Of Women Striking A Successful Balance Between Traditional Values And Modern Expectations

GAPC Entertainment and CBC’s Muneeza In The Middle is the story of a second-generation Canadian Muslim woman who is trying to understand and reconcile her religious traditional values with her cultural and Western sentiments. Both are inherent parts of who she is. While her religion encourages modesty, she is a beautiful, confident, and successful lawyer who makes a statement with her piercings, clothing, and cosmetic surgeries, which cause a stir in her community. She is, furthermore, a devout worshipper. Muneeza tries to understand and shape her identity. Is she straddling the double standards of her society’s expectations? She confronts this question especially once she becomes a mother. While she wants her daughter to have a better life, she doesn't want to lose herself. In a one-hour documentary, she's forced to choose between her culturally savvy and independent self and becoming a “good” Muslim mother.

Director Hoda Elatawi spent five years working to make this powerful documentary. She's known for award-winning films and television series aired in Canada and internationally for more than two decades with GAPC Entertainment. She is passionate about history, social issues, education and the arts, which have shaped her work. She has been the brains behind award-winning concepts in the children’s and factual programming genres and has worked with and produced for most Canadian broadcasters — including work on documentary series, biopics and specials. Elatawi has also been working on a new award-winning children’s television series, The Prime Radicals. She's currently working on a new math-based show in partnership with TVOkids and TFO called MathPlosion!

This film speaks about the struggle between two conflicting ideologies: "traditional" value systems and westernized cultural expectations. This conflict is common among first-, one-point-five and second-generation immigrants trying to find a happy medium. Deepa Mehta’s Bollywood/Hollywood (2002), starring Lisa Ray and Rahul Khanna, also discussed the challenges that second-generation children face, struggling to shape an identity based on these two ideologies. Years later, Elatawi’s documentary is evidence that this struggle does not have a resolution. Instead, it's a complex issue facing men, women and children who migrate to North America for better education or lives. Muneeza is emblematic of many women, with a rich and multi-faceted identity. Elatawi tries to portray Muneeza in her quest to become a “good” mother and a role model for her child.

An important voice in the documentary, ANOKHI Magazine’s editor-in-chief, Hina P. Ansari, who features in the documentary, comments on this paradox. “I was honoured to be asked to participate in small part in this relevant documentary. I'm one of many who tries to find a balance between east and west and between culture and religion. I feel this message now is more important than ever, and is a way of shedding some light and broaden the awareness on how we can relish in our Canadian-ness whilst continuing to keep our connection to our roots firmly intact.“

The documentary is airing on CBC's documentary channel on Jan 21, 9pm EST. 

Exclusive preview screening of Muneeza In The Middle will also take place at The Glenn Gould Studio. For ticket info click here.

Featured video:  GAPC Entertainment on Vimeo
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eatured Image: Hoda Elatawi

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