Canada’s Sana Asad stars in new coming-of-age film ‘Montreal Girls’

For Toronto native Sana Asad, her passion for acting comes from the play in it. Every role she takes on allows her to explore so many different people and discover more about herself and the world around her, seeing acting as a study of humanity.

“As actors, I think we’re instinctively intuitive and observant. In a lot of ways, I’ve found myself learning from the characters I’ve been cast as which makes the homework always feel like personal work on some level,” she said.

Asad has had a career many can simply dream of, becoming a fan favorite in Amazon’s critically acclaimed superhero series The Boys, showing off her comedic chops in the award-winning web series Short Term Sentence, and playing the titular character in iThentic’s web series Get Up, Aisha, a story about a girl who decides to ‘kick depression’s ass’. 

“It was such a full circle moment for me. I do struggle with anxiety and Aisha was a hero for me to look towards on days where I felt challenged. The series deals with the overarching theme of mental health and it does so cushioned in a sphere of comedy. It’s funny, heartfelt and relatable. The series not only showcases and honors Pakistani heritage but focuses on being personable when dealing with such an important theme that affects everyone,” said Asad.

Asad has a formidable resume already, with many exciting upcoming projects. One of her newest films, Montreal Girls, will be premiering shortly at the Cinequest Film Festival in California, where it will have two premieres, a red carpet, press and interviews. The film was also selected at Mean Film Festival, Hamilton Film Festival, as well as US in Progress. 

Montreal Girls takes place amidst the uncertainty of the Arab Spring, where a pre-med student is sent by his strict father to live with his Uncle in Montreal, Canada after winning a scholarship to McGill. When his free-bird cousin introduces him to the nightlife, his obsessions take over, endangering his status and his future. His path comes to a fork when he meets two Montreal girls who are wildly different. They each bring out a different side that he never knew existed and he is stuck questioning his career, his intentions and even his heart. 

“It’s a coming-of-age drama and it’s really telling throughout the narrative of the story. These are characters who are young and have a lot of questions despite wanting to feel as though they’ve got it all figured out. I think it’s incredibly personable, to not know who you are and to feel challenged by the world around you. It’s a really big theme and an important one I’ve definitely had to navigate through. You see these characters just be and follow their hearts throughout the arch of the story and it’s inspiring to see,” said Asad.

Asad was personally selected by Director Patricia Chica to play the part of Yaz, a Middle-Eastern girl who grew up in Montreal. She is a formidable beauty, and contrary to her upbringing, a free spirit. Yaz is curious about the underground scene of Montreal and frequently appears at “the place to be,” where she freely explores her wild side, and discreetly, her sexuality. She is the quintessential scenester; one night she is into punk-rock and the next into rockabilly. Even though she can be aloof, mysterious, somewhat dark, and calculating, Yaz also has a vulnerable side that she doesn’t let anyone see. She knows how to dominate a man, and in this case it is the lead of the story, played by actor Hakim Brahimi. 

“Sana embodies a type of dazzling energy that was able to transcend her audition tapes and the character of Yaz in my movie Montreal Girls. It is her essence that is spectacular on camera and I’m proud to say that her performance blew up the screen,” said Director Patrica Chica.

Working on the film was a fun and unique experience for Asad. Chica wanted all the actors to incorporate ‘Chi Energy’, which allows them to connect to their chakras and energetically bring that to their work. Asad describes it as a very internal yet spiritual work process and unique to any other set that she has worked on. 

“Working with ‘Chi Energy’ was such a fascinating experience. As an actor, you have to be in-tune with your instrument. I’ve always been open minded to exploring different processes because you can always take something that really works for you. I liked that ‘Chi Energy’ created a type of language between the actor and director and it made your decisions as an actor really specific,” Asad described.

There is a lot of hype for Montreal Girls as it was one of the first films to be shot in Montreal during the pandemic, creating a guideline for other films and the processes that could be implemented to ensure a safe set in a post-Covid world. With such a heartwarming and captivating story to go along with it, and stellar performances from Asad and the rest of the cast, this is one you won’t want to miss.

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