Set in the heart of the Middle Eastern community in North Vancouver, Kayan is a multifaceted story of love, belonging and loyalty. Hanin, a strong-headed Lebanese women,tries her best to keep Kayan, her struggling restaurant, afloat. With a failed marriage, two young daughters, a demanding relationship with a younger man and a staff that rely on her, Hanin has no choice but to conjure up new ways to make money. Weighed down by a complicated relationship and stranded by responsibilities, Hanin tries to persevere despite all her conflicts. Her preoccupation with her problems render her oblivious to the crisis that is unravelling in front of her eyes…
"I was born in Iran; however, I have been forced to live in many different parts of the world. Being an estranged outsider for most of my life, has turned me into an avid observer. As such, films that manage to catch a glimpse of real life and real people without being deprecating, have always peaked my interest. My writing is always inspired by the places I have been to and the people I have met. Naturally, music and food are innate parts of my stories. In Kayan, I have tried to bring all of these elements together against the backdrop of the immigrant community in Vancouver.
Kayan’s entire story is centered around a single location, namely a Lebanese restaurant run by a single mother. However, Kayan is no ordinary restaurant, rather, it is a safe haven for dancers, musicians and lonely souls. Diverse characters from different countries each breathe a new life into that space and add a new color to its palette. Consequently, the film will be a tapestry of colorful people with their particular tinge of isolation and solitude, woven into an ever-shifting whole, much like life itself." -Maryam Najafi
Kayan offers a glancing impression of Middle Eastern diaspora life through a vivid rendering of a busy Lebanese restaurant in Vancouver. Iran-born helmer Maryam Najafi films an actual eatery, enlisting its staff and clientele to play themselves; their seamless perfs contribute to the pic’s docu-like veracity, led by thesp Oula Hamadeh’s magnetic presence in a complex leading role." Maggie Lee, Variety