2014 Archives

SMU Meadows film faculty member Nicky Tavares wins a top grant from Austin Film Society for documentary 'Son of a Bug'

September 5, 2014

Nicky Tavares, a faculty member in the Division of Film and Media Arts at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, has won a $10,000 grant – the highest award level – from the Austin Film Society (AFS) for production of her documentary Son of a Bug. The award was announced by AFS this week.


Interview with Nicky Tavares and Shams-Tabraiz Muzaffar on KickStarter.

Son of a Bug is a feature-length documentary that explores the history of the Bugs, the first Pakistani rock band, and contested spaces of culture and religion. It also focuses on what it means to be Muslim and Pakistani American, as revealed through the father-son relationship between former Bugs drummer-turned-Texan “Jimmy” Jumshade Muzaffar and his Texas-raised son, Shams-Tabraiz. Shams-Tabraiz Muzaffar serves as co-director and co-producer of the film.

AFS awards grants each year to emerging film and video artists in the state of Texas whose work shows promise, skill and creativity. This year AFS gave a total of 25 grants in feature film, documentary and shorts categories. Tavares’ film was one of only four to receive the top prize of $10,000, and one of only three produced by filmmakers outside Austin.

“I am truly honored to be included amongst such a wonderful group of Texas filmmakers,” says Tavares. “This film has been a labor of love, so it is a great feeling to have Austin Film Society’s vote of confidence.”

The awards were decided by an independent panel of professionals from the national film community. The 2014 panelists were Tom Hall, film programmer, journalist and director of the Montclair Film Festival; Aaron Katz, writer/director (Land Ho!, Cold Weather, Quiet City, Dance Party U.S.A.); and Angela Tucker, documentary director and producer (The New Black, Pushing the Elephant, Afropop, (A)Sexual, Black Folk Don’t).

Tavares has also received two LEF Moving Image Fund Grants and a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in support of the film.


Nicky Tavares

Tavares is a multimedia artist whose work ranges from experimental documentary to handmade film to installation and sculpture. Her hybrid live-action and animated documentary Fwd: Update on My Life screened at film festivals and micro-cinemas nationally and internationally, including at the Museum of Modern Art and Lincoln Center in New York. Among other honors, Tavares was awarded an Iqbal Fellowship at the Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue in Pakistan where she conducted research on early Pakistani rock music and taught courses in documentary production at the International Islamic University, Islamabad. She was a cinematographer for the PBS series Arab American Stories and, most recently, a Visual Arts Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass. She earned an M.F.A. in film and video from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

At SMU, she teaches courses in film production and post-production effects.

Since its launch in 1996, the Austin Film Society grant program has provided over $1.5 million to more than 385 film and video projects. Grant recipients have shown their films at renowned festivals such as Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, Tribeca, Venice, Rotterdam and SXSW and have been nominated for Gotham Awards and won Independent Spirit Awards and Student Academy Awards. Several have been released theatrically or in the cable and home video markets.  Recent past winners include Andrew Bujalski’s Sundance Award-winning and critically acclaimed feature Computer Chess and Heather Courtney’s Emmy Award-winning documentary Where Soldiers Come From.

For more information about Son of a Bug, visit http://www.sonofabug.com/.

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