Poster and Stills

Logline (25 words):
The story of struggle and hope from Canada’s first major non-European refugee movement, caused by Idi Amin's expulsion of South Asians from Uganda in 1972.


Short Synopsis (37 words):
After Idi Amin's expulsion of South Asians from Uganda in 1972, Canada opened its doors to its first major non-European refugee movement. Their story of struggle and hope became part of Canada’s conversations about refugees and diversity.


Longer Synopsis (84 words):
In 1972, Ugandan President Idi Amin announced that all South Asians had 90 days to leave the country. Among other countries, Canada offered an “honourable place” to almost 8,000 refugees. This documentary explores Canada’s first major migration of non-European and non-white refugees, set against the backdrop of African post-colonialism, a brutal military dictatorship, and changing Canadian attitudes to diversity. Their story of struggle and hope became part of Canada’s conversations about refugees and cultural pluralism, and informed Canada’s response to future refugee movements.

Film Synopsis


Aleem Karmali - Producer, Writer, Director and Editor:
Aleem Karmali is a documentary filmmaker based in Edmonton, Canada. Through his company, Crescent Productions, he works at the intersections of history, diversity, religion, and culture. He focuses particularly on telling stories about the diversity of Muslim cultures and civilizations. He is also a writer, educator, and public speaker.

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 - James Cadden - Edmonton
 - James Cooper - Guelph
 - Andy Tran - Ottawa
 - Diego Lam - Vancouver
 - Aaron Rivera - Hong Kong


Featured Interviews:

 - Salma Lakhani, the 19th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta and former Ugandan refugee
 - Mobina Jaffer, Canadian Senator and former Ugandan refugee
 - Dr. Shezan Muhammedi, Author of Gifts From Amin: Ugandan Asian Refugees in Canada
 - Michael Molloy, former Canadian immigration official
 - Dr. Karim H. Karim, Carleton University
 - Dr. Laura Madokoro, Carleton University
 - Dr. Alyshea Cummins, Carleton University
 - Clifford J. Pereira, The University of Hong Kong
 - Tasneem Jamal, Author of Where the Air is Sweet
 - Nizar Fakirani, former Ugandan refugee
 - Dr. Zaheer Lakhani, former Ugandan refugee
 - John Nazareth, former Ugandan refugee
 - Odette Pinto, former Ugandan refugee
 - Zera Rashid, former Ugandan refugee
 - Rai and Shanta Saujani, former Ugandan refugees
 - Nandish Yajnik, former Ugandan refugee

Cast and Crew

Film Information

Title: Thrown into Canada
Subtitle: The Settlement of Asian Refugees from Uganda
Tagline: The story of Canada's first major non-European refugee movement
Genre: Documentary
Running Time: 78 minutes
Resolution: 1080p
Country: Canada
Film Profile: The Movie Database profile
Social Media: Facebook page


Film Festivals:

 - Waterloo Region Migration Film Festival, Official Selection, Waterloo, Canada, December 6, 2022
 - African Diaspora Cinema Festival, Official Selection, Florence, Italy, June 28-July 1, 2023
 - Global Peace Film Festival, Official Selection, Orlando, USA, September 23, 2023
 - Tasveer South Asian Film Festival, Official Selection, Seattle, USA, October 12-22, 2023
 - Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Official Selection, Vancouver, Canada, November 2-12, 2023


Media and Promotion:

 - Interview with Aleem Karmali for Global Peace Film Festival
 - Interview with Aleem Karmali on CBC Radio Calgary's The Homestretch
 - Interview with Aleem Karmali on Salaam Namaste Calgary on Punjabi National Radio 94.7 FM
 - Article by Aleem Karmali for, "The Ugandan Asian Refugees: Canada’s First Major Movement of Non-European Refugees"