Yazmeen Kanji is a Muslim Indo-Caribbean filmmaker, the Advocacy and Outreach Lead at BIPOC TV & Film, as well as the founder of Films With A Cause - a consulting startup for authentic storytelling practices. She graduated as a Dean’s Scholar from the University of Toronto in 2020, where she studied Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs, Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity and Cinema Studies. Throughout her undergrad, Yazmeen was offered grants to work on research projects exploring the social and political consequences of misrepresenting marginalized communities. Yazmeen is a Hot Docs Accelerator Fellow, a member of the Transmedia Zone and Social Ventures Zone at TMU (Toronto Metropolitan University) and a cohort member of Inspirit’s Narrative Change Lab alongside other Muslim creatives and content creators.
Her first documentary, From Syria To Hope (2019), explores the resettlement of Syrian refugee families and was awarded Best Short Doc at the 2019 Toronto Short Film Festival. Yazmeen directed With Love From Munera (2020), about a young storyteller's healing journey, which premiered at the 2020 Inside Out Film Festival and was an official selection at TIFF Next Wave 2021 and the 2021 Breakthroughs Film Festival. With Love From Munera won the Audience Choice Award at the Breakthroughs Film Festival and Yazmeen was a guest on CBC Metro Morning to discuss the film's success. With Love From Munera is available to stream on the digital TIFF Bell Lightbox site and has screened at the TIFF Bell Lightbox numerous times. Yazmeen has directed video series for organizations including World Table (2020) about refugee chefs for Matthew House and an anti-hate series for the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, highlighting Muslim women and non-binary people who have faced discrimination within and beyond their communities. Yazmeen also directed Eadie's first music video, L.O.E (Loyalty Over Everything), released in June 2021.
Yazmeen supported Charles Officer’s production company, Canesugar Filmworks, and projects directed by the Oscar nominated Sami Khan. Yazmeen has worked on CBC original series including The Porter and Zarqa as the Social Media Manager, as well as a cultural consultant on a number of documentaries.
Yazmeen’s first narrative short about an Indo-Caribbean Muslim teen who daydreams throughout her day will be released in the Fall of 2023, partially funded by the Ontario Arts Council. Yazmeen is in development on her first feature film funded by the Hot Docs Cross Currents Fund and executive produced by Charles Officer and Jake Yanowski - a documentary following the journey of one of the first recipients of a Bone Marrow Transplant to be potentially cured of Sickle Cell Disease in Canada.
Alongside her filmmaking work, Yazmeen publicly speaks about the importance of representing communities of her intersections and works in consulting capacities on productions to ensure stories and marketing campaigns portray historically marginalized communities in meaningful ways.