CIFF 2021- “The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night”- Capsule Review

Competition and family tensions run high in Fawzia Mirza’s delightful Muslim-LGBTQ holiday short film, The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night. When Noor brings home her Puerto Rican girlfriend, Luz, for the annual game night, the Syed family’s traditions will be challenged as they learn to accept Luz into their clan.

Even despite its 12 minute runtime, Mirza and writer Kausar Mohammed make the audience feel as though they’re being welcomed into the homey and tight-knit Syed family unit. Mohammed and Ortiz also have fantastic chemistry as the leading, loving couple.

The only detriment to the film is that its title is longer than the actual feature. There’s so much that could be explored in the Syed family (including more scenes of intense competition), that Mohammed and Mirza would be wise to use this short to get a feature length version funded. It was a joy to see Muslim and LGBTQ individuals represented on screen, and hopefully the talented cast and crew of The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night (along with other filmmakers), can continue to depict these minorities as successfully as was done here.

The Silver Lining

Normally I save the Silver Lining for a particular scene or production value to highlight, but Everything about this film is so fun and inviting that I’m dedicating this section as my impassioned plea to all our readers: Please support this film and make your voices heard on social media if you would like to see more of the Syed family!

The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night is a part of the Chicago International Film Festival’s Shorts 6: Side-Splitting Comedy. Buy your virtual tickets here, available until October 24th.

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