Ian Iqbal Rashid

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Ian Iqbal Rashid (born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) is a poet, screenwriter and filmmaker known in particular for his volumes of poetry, for the BBC TV series This Life and the feature films Touch of Pink and How She Move.

His current projects include creating television series in many genres for international markets. In the U.S., Rashid is currently developing a police procedural television series for Lionsgate Television and Showtime Network. He is also creating a historical miniseries set in East Africa for Sonar Entertainment. In Canada, he is developing a medical drama series for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. And in the UK, he is writing a romantic comedy series for ITV.

Of Indian ancestry, Rashid's family lived in colonial and post-colonial East Africa for generations. In his early childhood, his family was forced to leave Tanzania. After failing to secure asylum in the UK and US, they settled in Canada.

Rashid began his career as an arts journalist and critic and events programmer, particularly focussed on South Asian diasporic, Muslim and LGBTQ cultural work.

In the late 1980s, Rashid was a regular contributor to the Canadian LGBT magazine Rites, and the cultural journals "Fuse" and "TSAR". He published the poetry collection Black Markets, White Boyfriends and Other Acts of Elision, and made the short documentary film Bolo Bolo!.[1] The film, part of an HIV/AIDS educational series called The AIDS Cable Project, resulted in the series being pulled from Rogers Television after complaints about sexually suggestive content, though it had a long and healthy life at film festivals.[2] In 1995, Rashid was the Guest Editor for Rungh magazine's Queer Special Issue.[3]

In the early 1990s, Rashid returned to London, Britain, where he lives today with his partner, the writer and curator Peter Ride.

Touch of Pink, his first feature film, spent 12 years in development.[4] In 2003, he finally had the chance to direct the project as a Canada-UK co-production. It premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival to great acclaim,[5] a bidding war, and eventually, a sale to Sony Picture Classics.

How She Move received a similar reception at Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Rashid in 2007, the film is set in the world of step dancing. It was nominated for a Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize and purchased by Paramount Vantage. The film opened to great reviews[6][7][8] and strong box office: another indie success story to emerge from Sundance.

Self-taught as a film-maker, Rashid began his career in the late 1990s, working as a writer in UK television. His credits include the soap, London Bridge (Carlton Television for ITV), and the cult hit BBC2 series This Life for which he received the Writer's Guild of England award. Rashid has written two award-winning short films, Surviving Sabu (1999, Arts Council of England)[9] and Stag (2001, BBC Films).

He wrote and read his short story "Muscular Bridges" for BBC Radio 4's HMS Windrush Anniversary. For BBC's Woman's Hour Programme, Rashid wrote and directed Leaving Normal, a comedy serial about gay adoption starring Imelda Staunton and Meera Syal.[10]

Rashid has written three award-winning books of poetry. The most recent is The Heat of Yesterday. His poems "Another Country", "Could Have Danced All Night", "Hot Property" and "Early Dinner, Weekend Away" appear in John Barton and Billeh Nickerson's 2007 anthology Seminal: The Anthology of Canada's Gay Male Poets.[11]

He has also curated film programmes and exhibitions for venues such as the National Film Theatre, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and Experimenta. He was the founder and first director of Desh Pardesh, Canada's first arts festival focusing on diasporic South Asian arts and culture.

Amongst many awards and festival prizes, Rashid has received the Aga Khan Award for Excellence in the Arts.[citation needed] Ian was selected as one of 2010's Breakthrough Brits on the prestigious UK Film Council (BFI) programme.


  1. ^ Ian Iqbal Rashid at the Queer Media Database.
  2. ^ "Rogers drops AIDS show". The Globe and Mail, 27 March 1991.
  3. ^ Rashid, Ian Iqbal (1995). [s://digital.lib.sfu.ca/rungh-775/rungh-south-asian-quarterly-culture-comment-and-criticism-33-1995 "Naming Names or How Do You Say 'Queer' in 'South Asian'?"]. Rungh - A South Asian Quarterly of Culture, Comment and Criticism. 3 (3): 1–40. ISSN 1188-9950 – via https://digital.lib.sfu.ca/rungh-775/rungh-south-asian-quarterly-culture-comment-and-criticism-33-1995.
  4. ^ Murray, Rebecca. Jimi Mistry on Touch of Pink About.com, undated.
  5. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk.Touch of Pink The Hollywood Reporter, 21 January 2004.
  6. ^ Seitz Zoller, Matt. Dance, Fight, Laugh, Cry and Read Great Literature The New York Times, 25 January 2008.
  7. ^ Denby, David. Young and Restless: How She Move and The Witnesses The New Yorker, 4 February 2008.
  8. ^ Anderson, John. How She Move The Washington Post, 25 January 2008.
  9. ^ Mendes, Ana Cristina (2018). "Surviving The Jungle Book: Trans-temporal Ventriloquism in Ian Iqbal Rashid's Surviving Sabu". Journal of British Cinema and Television. doi:10.3366/jbctv.2018.0441.
  10. ^ Rashid, Ian Iqbal. Leaving Normal: a new comedy about gay adoption BBC Radio 4 Blog, 7 June 2010
  11. ^ John Barton and Billeh Nickerson, eds. Seminal: The Anthology of Canada's Gay Male Poets. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007. ISBN 1551522179.

External links[edit]

  • Ian Iqbal Rashid on IMDb