MustacheDirected by Imran J. Khan
Cast: Alicia Silverstone, Atharva Verma, Ayana Manji, Hasan Minhaj, Meesha Shafi, Rizwan Manji
Audience Award (Narrative Feature), 2023 SXSW Film Festival
Ilyas is 13 years old and has an unfortunate prepubescent mustache. He’s a good Muslim so he knows why he can’t shave it off. Though he goes to an Islamic school, his teenage peers don’t hesitate about jeering his fuzz. When his parents become unable to pay for religious school, they transfer Ilyas to a public high school, where his mustache – and hence his social life – is on even shakier ground. And so Ilyas hatches a fail-safe plan: convince his dad that public school is corrupting him. His method: get caught swapping letters with a fake girlfriend. His conspirator: Yasmeen, an old Islamic school friend, who has a secret crush on Ilyas.
Inspired by his own upbringing as an immigrant kid in the 90s, Imran J. Khan spins a classic genre (the coming-of-age film) into a stylish comedy of Bay Area South Asian families, co-starring no less than 90s icon Alicia Silverstone. But if the 90s weren’t the best times for Muslim representation onscreen, MUSTACHE is a refreshing inversion, depicting devout families with a peppy normalcy, no more an obstacle of adolescence than cute girls and parties with alcohol. With a winning deadpan performance by Atharva Verma in the lead, and appearances by Hasan Minhaj and Rizwan Manji, MUSTACHE is a sweetly comic tribute to young love, playacting, and facial hair.
– Brian Hu
Filmmaker scheduled to attend.
Screening to be followed by Q&A.
Admission includes special receptions:
6:00pm–7:00pm Pre-Screening Reception
9:00pm–11:00pm Post-Screening After Party
Reception Sponsor: East West Bank.