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Entertainment Reporter: Lily Khuu | Video Journalist: Sarah Woodward
A Film About a Lesbian Muslim Wrestler Just Won an Outfest Award
Fawzia Mirza is a self-described “…Lesbian, Muslim, Pakistani, actor, activist, writer, producer, lawyer and creature of passion.” Her new film Signature Move tells the story of a Muslim woman who falls in love with a female wrestler. It was just announced that Outfest has awarded the film’s director, Jennifer Reeder, with the Best U.S. Narrative Feature Film – U.S. Grand Jury Prize.
Her relationship with her girlfriend while living in Chicago was Mirza’s inspiration behind writing the script for the film, “She is now my ex but don’t worry — we’re still friends.” The wrestling in the film was inspired by an epiphany she had one day while seeing a WWE wrestler perform her signature move. Mirza reflects on her thought process when watching the female wrestler in action: “How has feminism included or forgotten about these women who are clearly extremely powerful?”
The main character of Signature Move, Zaynab, is inspired by parts of Mirza’s life. “She doesn’t fit the idea of the model-minority role that’s often seen in a lot of mainstream shows and movies.” Mirza took some wrestling training to prepare for her part, and although she performed all of the moves, she did have body and stunt doubles to assist with the more difficult techniques such as body-slams. She noted that the wrestling environment is a safe LGBT space.
The film is currently being screened internationally at film festivals all over the world.