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Tarique Qayumi

Director • DGC

Courtney Bainbridge • Meridian Artists

+1 416 961 2777 •


I was smuggled out of Afghanistan in a truck as a child. This perilous journey as a refugee ignited my passion for being a storyteller. It was like being in a movie, bandits stopped us to rob us, Mujahedeen pulled us over and recruited the young men to their cause, and at any point patrolling Russian helicopters could have shot us from the sky. Dealing with these life-and-death situations when I was eight years old has helped me understand on a deep level what real drama is.

I graduated from UCLA with an MFA in Film, but I realized that I wasn’t connecting with actors. After a weekend workshop with Judith Weston, I was in awe. I continued my training with her for two more years and now working with actors is my greatest asset.


After my training, I went back to Afghanistan to reconnect with my roots. I worked at the number one TV station in Afghanistan and shot about 25 hours of programming.


Working in a war zone where everything changed by the second was stressful, but I always came in on time and within budget. This is why they gave me the crown jewel of the company to direct SESAME STREET.


Before I returned to Canada, I filmed my passion project BLACK KITE. I couldn’t find a cinematographer, so I shot the film as well. Shot in twelve days, most of the dialogue is improvised with non-actors. It premiered at TIFF and received three Leo Awards for best writing, best direction, and best film.


When I returned to Canada, I’ve been one of four selected across Canada for the NSI CORUS Diverse Directing Program, where I shadowed on THE VIKINGS and PRIVATE EYES.


Through a DGC initiative, I also shot a mini-project using virtual production technology.

Currently, I am in post-production on my third feature film entitled MOTHERHOOD with production funding from TELEFILM.

Black Kite


Premiered at Toronto International Festival and played at 20 festivals around the world. Winner of three Leo Awards for Best Writer, Best Director, and Best Picture. Nominated for Canadian Screen Award for Best Composer.

Awesome interview with #cbc'a film critique Eli Grasner. -- I'm running a campaign on Indiegogo.jpg

In the Know

Selected Media Stories

Shore Scripts Fund Finalist

July 10, 2021

Out of 1500 entries, Qayumi's short script placed 2nd winning $10,000 in production funds.

Black Kite the big winner at a tough-minded Leo Awards

July 3, 2018

Georgia Straight

Why I Risked My Life Making a Movie in Afghanistan

Nov 30th, 2017

VICE Magazine

Tarique Qayumi wants to heal Afghanistan through the art of storytelling

Sept 6th, 2017

Q with Tom Power, CBC Radio,

Healing Through Storytelling

Feb 13, 2015

TEDxKabul Talk


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