Shamim Sarif

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Shamim Sarif
Born (1969-09-24) September 24, 1969 (age 46)
London, England
Occupation Novelist, filmmaker
Spouse(s) Hanan Kattan (m. 2015)
Children 2

Shamim Sarif (born September 24, 1969) is a British novelist and filmmaker of South Asian and South African heritage.

Early life and education[edit]

Sarif was born in London, England, to Indian parents who had left South Africa in the early 1960s to escape apartheid.[1][2] She studied English literature at London University, then took a Masters in English at Boston University.[1]


Her roots inspired her to write her debut novel, The World Unseen,[3] which explores issues of race, gender and sexuality,[4] which she later adapted into a film starring Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth. The novel won the Pendleton May First Novel Award and a Betty Trask Award.[5][6] She has also adapted and directed a film based on her book I Can't Think Straight.[2][7]

She is the recipient of Best Director awards for The World Unseen film from the South African Film and Television Awards,[8][9][10][11] the Phoenix Film Festival[12][13] and the Clip (Tampa) Festival.[14]

Her 2011 film, The House of Tomorrow, winner of Documentary Audience Award at the Festival Regards Sur Le Cinema Du Monde 2014 in Rouen (France), is a documentary about the 2010 TEDx Holy Land Conference, which brought together Arab and Israeli women to discuss issues of mutual interest in technology, entertainment, and design.[15]

At Cannes Festival[16] 2013 Enlightenment Productions announced their new film Despite The Falling Snow.[17] The film starring Mission Impossible 5 Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson,[18][19][20][21] Game of Thrones actor Charles Dance, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Antje Traue, Sam Reid, Anthony Head and Trudie Styler, is due to be released in 2015. On the 14th September 2014 Enlightenment Productions was announced as one of the finalists for Breaking the Mould Award, a prize aimed to promote and enhance the role of women in business.[22]

Enlightenment Productions were Winner of the Kingston Business Excellence Awards 2014, Best Creative and Media Sector Business.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Sarif is openly lesbian and described I Can't Think Straight to be semi-autographical.[2] On September 23, 2015, she married producer Hanan Kattan at the Chelsea Registry Office in London, after nearly 20 years together.[24] They have two sons, Ethan (b.1999) and Luca (b.2002).[1][25][26]

Feature films[edit]



  • I Can't Think Straight. Enlightenment Production Limited. 2010. ISBN 978-0-9560316-1-7. 
  • Wrote the Book, Made the Movie, Raised the Kids, Now the Blog... Enlightenment Press. 2010. ISBN 978-0-9560-3164-8. 


[27] [28] [29] [30]

  1. ^ a b c "Just another British, Indian, Muslim, Arab, Christian lesbian romantic comedy". Evening Standard. 
  2. ^ a b c Rachael Scott, "Having a gay old time: Novelist turned film-maker Shamim Sarif has two films, both based on her books, coming out tomorrow. She tells Rachael Scott how this one-two punch came about." The Guardian, 2 April 2009.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Shamim Sharif
  5. ^ Billy Suter, "Love in apartheid SA", The Mercury (South Africa), September 12, 2008  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  6. ^ Candice Soobramoney, "Shamim on lesbian love flick", Post (South Africa), August 6, 2008  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  7. ^ "Changing lives in little steps", Independent Online (South Africa), 12 February 2009.
  8. ^ "Unusual film sweeps Saftas; Janet van Eeden talks to the writer and director of The World Unseen, a film that highlights the plight of Indian women under apartheid.", The Sunday Independent, 15 February 2009  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  9. ^ "Apartheid era love story The World Unseen scoops 11 Saftas", The Witness, 22 February 2009.
  10. ^ "SAFTA Awards". 
  11. ^
  12. ^[dead link]
  13. ^ "Movie Reviews: First week of Lesbian & Gay Film Festival is rich with diversity", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 16, 2008.
  14. ^ "The World Unseen Awards".  External link in |newspaper= (help)[unreliable source?]
  15. ^ Billy Cox, "‘House of Tomorrow’ infused with excitement and optimism", Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 16 April 2012.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Despite the Falling Snow. Retrieved from
  18. ^ 6 Sales Takes Rebecca Ferguson-Starrer ‘Snow’. Retrieved from
  19. ^ Rebecca Ferguson. Retrieved from
  20. ^ Rebecca Ferguson describes her big leap into 'Mission: Impossible'. Retrieved from
  21. ^ Mission: Impossible 5 Has Found Its New Female Lead. Retrieved from
  22. ^
  23. ^ "2014 WINNERS". Kingston Business Excellence Awards 2014. 
  24. ^ "We just got married!". 
  25. ^ "Our son Ethan's 13th birthday today". Twitter. 
  26. ^ "Our Luca turns 13". Twitter. 
  27. ^ Producers Lab Toronto unveils 2015 line-up
  29. ^ Captain Marvel: Rebecca Ferguson Rumored To Be Top Contender
  30. ^ Producers Lab Toronto a Success at TIFF 2015

External links[edit]