(Canada, 2012, 85 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In English, Iranian with English subtitles
CAST Oula Hammadeh, Seira Emami, Kayan Bennett, Kiara Bennett, Mohammed Saad, Maryam Ghaeni, Milad Hamidi
Filmmaker Q&A Friday 28 March


Set in the heart of the Middle Eastern community in Vancouver, Canada, Kayan is an intricate story of betrayal, belonging and love in all their complicated and often paradoxical glory. Hanin, a strong-minded Lebanese woman, tries her best to keep Kayan, her struggling restaurant, afloat. With a failed marriage, two teenage daughters, a demanding relationship with a younger man and an array of people that rely on her, Hanin has no choice but to conjure up new ways to make money and persevere. Things take a twisted turn as the line between her personal and professional life blurs and some of her customers turn out to be more than they seem…

Director’s Statement

"I was born in Iran, a land of contradictions, and although I have lived in different parts of the world, I still find myself drawn to discords and ambiguities rather than clear-cut definitions. I strive to make films that catch a glimpse of real life and real people with all their complexities and imperfections. My writing is inspired by the places I have been to and the people I have met, and somehow, music, femininity and diversity of cultures, always find their way into my stories. Kayan, is an attempt to blend these elements together against the backdrop of the immigrant community of Canada. Centered around a single location and with a full cast of non-actors, Kayan (existence in Arabic) is a tapestry of colorful characters with all their idiosyncrasies and vulnerabilities, woven into an ever-shifting whole, much like life itself." -Maryam Najafi

Kayan offers a glancing impression of Middle Eastern diaspora life through a vivid rendering of a busy Lebanese restaurant in Vancouver. Iran-born helmer Maryam Najafi films an actual eatery, enlisting its staff and clientele to play themselves; their seamless perfs contribute to the pic’s docu-like veracity, led by thesp Oula Hamadeh’s magnetic presence in a complex leading role." Maggie Lee, Variety