Filmi 21! Virtual Edition
Filmi Toronto’s South Asian Film Festival Celebrating 21 Years!
December 27th, 2020
21st Filmi: Toronto’s South Asian film festival
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John is on a tough road trip back to his home town by himself. It is an emotional journey, one which he carries various life decisions in the back of his head while trying to find hope during tough times with those around him.
Anand Pavamani is a Director, Music Composer and Writer born in Vancouver, grew up in Markham Ontario and Montreal and now resides back in Markham. Anand is a member of the York Region Arts Council and Screen Composer’s Guild of Canada. He has been composing, producing and playing music for 30 years and has completed 3 short films in the past. He is also currently working on producing 4 other films he wrote: Akna, Uncolonize, Roxy and MY Life.
Creating emotional content that moves people is my goal while tackling subjects of social change and injustice.
HOPE is dedicated to those that have lost someone and it also represents my struggle as an artist to embark upon film making while going through a tough time in life.
Director: Raneethan Muthiah
A man writes on his journal about taking place in a murder.
SURI PARMAR is a Toronto-based writer, filmmaker, designer, and self-described “creative carpet bomber” whose work has screened at film festivals around the world. In 2011, she was one of five writers from across Canada selected for the Canadian Film Centre’s prestigious screenwriting residency program. She is also an alumna of the Canadian Film Centre’s Short Dramatic Film Program and the Writers Guild of Canada’s Diverse Screenwriters Program for television writing, and a recent graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing.
Although Suri writes in a variety of genres, she prefers fantasy, and includes Kelly Link, Angela Carter, and the Wachowskis among her influences. She aspires to evoke the same awe and wonder she herself experienced the first time she watched the film Akira.
The Bakebook is based on a short prose piece that I wrote while attending Humber College’s School for Writers, that was published in Black Heart Magazine in 2012. My older sister loved it and begged me to adapt it into a film. I guess you could say that The Bakebook is my gift to her.
Because of the story’s fanciful elements and delicate tone, I felt it could only be an animated film. Puppets were hand-drawn and shaded in watercolour to channel Golden Age colour plates. As with fairy-tale books of the era, it espouses universal themes. Love, grief, loss. Specifically, how different people deal—or don’t deal—with tragedy.
Ginny, the protagonist, is a new take on fairy story heroines. She’s an accountant in her thirties rather than a princess, and is spirited, stubborn, and eccentric. She’s also a woman of colour; when I was growing up, I loved fairy-tales, but felt they embodied a world in which non-Orientalised visible minorities like me didn’t belong. Ginny is a response to this paucity.
SURI PARMAR is a Toronto-based filmmaker whose work has screened at film festivals around the world. In 2011, she was one of five writers from across Canada selected for the Canadian Film Centre’s prestigious screenwriting residency program. She is also an alumna of the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing and Reykjavík International Film Festival’s Transatlantic Talent Lab.
NEVIN DOUGLAS is a Toronto-based musician, recording artist, video editor, and producer. Through the creation of his animated web series, Playtime, he became a specialist in the world of “machinima”: the creation of original animated content filmed with video games. He has produced four seasons of Playtime, released seven studio albums, and filmed and edited music videos for himself and singer/songwriter Lisa Marie Kruchak. He has also played hundreds of concerts in and around the Toronto area as the guitarist of rock bands Debaser, The Withouts, and Habitat. Currently, he is working on a new solo album and raising his young daughter.
Two families, similar identities. Fleeing violence, they sought refuge in Canada and began a new life. This is the experience of thousands of people in North America and yet these stories go mostly untold. Arrival Archives is an artful exploration of newcomer arrival stories, told through a multi-generational viewpoint. The stories intertwine as one, illustrating that Canada’s cultural landscape is a communal experience shared by many different faces.
Arrival Archives is a commission of the Home Made Visible Project which seeks to bring a personal lens to Indigenous and visible minority archives.
Maya Bastian is a Tamil-Canadian filmmaker and multi-media artist from Toronto,Canada. As a writer/director she has won awards and exhibited her short films internationally, which run the gamut from narrative to documentary, to experimental animation. Her short film ‘Fear Itself’ won Best Cinematography and Best Horror/Thriller at the San Francisco International Women’s Film Festival and her short documentary ‘After the War’ received Best Documentary at the Eyelens Film Festival in Vancouver, BC. From there, she spent several years traveling the world as an investigative video journalist, documenting areas of conflict and post-conflict. .
She has since won awards and received extensive press in Canada for her short documentaries which explore conflict and justice as they relate to community and culture.
She is the recipient of the 2017 Al Magee Diverse Screenwriter Mentorship, a 2017 Reelworld Emerging 20 fellow, has received filmmaking grants from Regent Park Film Festival and Art With Impact. She is currently in pre-production on her Ontario Arts Council funded short drama entitled ‘Tigress’, which examines militant rebellions and the ways in which we choose to rebel.
How do our memories shape our identity? What if they aren’t our own? My ancestors’ memories are saturated with the bloody civil war that ravaged my homeland for 30 years. As a first generation Canadian female and a member of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, some of my earliest memories are of stories being told in hushed whispers, of people escaping terror and of those who could not get
out. Through my work in conflict and post-conflict journalism, I have come to understand that most children are aware of their parents’ refugee experiences, no matter how traumatic. These stories take up residence in our psyche and create a visceral cognizance, a deeply empathic understanding of what our closest family members have endured.
Arrival Archives is a short, conceptual documentary created to
highlight the stories of those who are contributing to our changing cultural landscape in a way that may serve their identity and memories. It is a multi-generational love story to the stories of our ancestors.
Maya Bastian’s short films and documentaries have screened at festivals around the world. Primarily focusing on social justice issues, her work ranges from narrative to documentary to experimental. She spent several years traveling the world as an investigative video journalist, documenting areas of conflict and post-conflict culminating in her latest narrative short film ‘Air Show’, about the effect of the Toronto Air Show on newcomer refugees.
She is the recipient of the 2017 Magee TV Diverse Screenwriting Mentorship Award was selected as one of Reelworld Film Festival’s Emerging 20, and has been recently chosen as one of Regent Park Film Festival’s Home Made Visible artists. She is currently in pre-production on a short narrative ‘Tigress’, which examines militant rebellions and the ways in which we chose to rebel.
Amongst cheers of glee and exhilaration from it’s viewers, the Canadian National Air Show has been tormenting Parkdale citizens for nearly 50 years. The Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale is a diverse area which owes it’s vibrancy to the scores of immigrants and refugees that influence it’s streets. Nearly 20,000 displaced persons call Parkdale home, many of whom have experienced war and aerial bombing first-hand. What happens when they arrive traumatized by conflict, only to have an extravagant show of Canadian military strength in their front yard? Do the fighter jets above their heads, the deafening noises and the windows rattling elicit a distinct response?
‘Air Show’ aims to explore the intersection of Canadian culture and tradition with our ever-evolving climate of diversity. The result is an intimate look at the trauma of conflict, the remnants of which are oft carried over into daily life.
In an experimental fashion, the film was shot during the Canadian National Air Show using former refugees as actors. The lead actors in this film have all experienced aerial bombardment.
This short film is about the life of musician Jatinder Parkash. Throughout his career, he has played the flute for films such as “Cooking with Stella” and “Life of Pi” and this short documentary catalogs the ups and downs of his life, his relationships with family and friends and his career as a musician.
Jaskaran Singh holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Toronto in Political Science and is a graduate of Sheridan College’s Advanced Television and Film program. He held the positions of Head Writer and Creative Director while at UofT for its campus wide media channel. While at Sheridan, Jaskaran continued to write and produce short works, most notably “ReArranged,” which boldly addressed arranged marriages and took part in two festivals in 2018 (IIFSA Toronto and NSI Online); and “S.A.M.,” a technically and logistically demanding sci-fi production that has received festival acclaim globally. Jaskaran recently produced another sci-fi short, “Autopsy,” and in founding Paradox Lost, he hopes to use his unique voice to write/direct/produce stories not given a platform to be told. His latest, “A Turban & A Beard” is the first such attempt.
In the middle of September 2001, a Sikh man was murdered outside of his gas station in one of the first post-9/11 hate crimes against that religious group. When asked, his family said that all the killer saw was a turban and a beard. As part of their faith, Sikhs are required to keep their hair uncut and wear a turban. These articles of faith have ignorantly become synonymous with acts of terrorism, giving free reign for those with hate in their heart to attack based solely on appearance. Almost twenty years later, while much progress has been made, a new brand of nationalism has risen targeting with extreme prejudice. What once felt like underground or receding racism has boldly bubbled to the surface again. A way in which that warped narrative can be challenged is with more widespread representation in media. Sikh representation remains confined to a world of taxi drivers, mistaken terrorists, and convenience store clerks. My hope is that this short allows for layered and complex roles for Sikh actors, while providing an audience with a window inside that cultural, religious, and social upbringing.
Shubhi is a 23-year-old Indo-Canadian filmmaker based in Toronto. She recently wrote and directed her first short film as a 2019 Unsung Voices Fellow through the support of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. Shubhi earned her Honours Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toronto where she double-majored in English and Book & Media Studies.
Click Here To Play is inspired by a true story. At the beginning of 2019, my partner was scammed in a game he had been playing for five years and lost all of his online belongings. I didn’t understand what the loss meant to him at the time. However, he spent the next month talking about it and after one particularly emphatic speech, it hit me that there was a story to tell. I made this film because as a visible minority, I know what it means to have your experience misunderstood. Through making the film, I gained insight into the gaming community and the larger impact of his loss.
“A smoke session of four Indo-Canadian teenage hooligans takes an interesting turn when one of the boy’s girlfriend makes an interesting request.”
The protagonist of the film Ajay is constantly fighting in between his love for his girlfriend and respect from his friends. He is also fighting to prove to his friends that he has everything to make him a man. The film tries to criticize the youngster’s immaturity and lack of empathy towards fellow humans, regardless of gender.
Siddarth Nair is a Toronto based filmmaker of South Asian Origin. He was born in Kerala, India where he learned his passion for Visual arts. He moved to Canada in 2012 with his family to learn Cinema. Being new to Canada, Siddarth’s films focus on South Asian stories and characters. He is a multifaceted artist, with a passion for visual arts, photography, design, and dancing. In film, he focuses on directing, editing and set design. During his high school his documentary film, High school – Hip-Hop was recognized in an international film festival in Qatar(THIMUN). He went to York University for Film Production BFA, during his years he wrote and directed three fiction films, his third-year film, Curry is on the processes of being expanded into a feature, which was also nominated for Cineseige 2018.
A poor widower has planned to give up his newborn son in exchange for money so he can take his daughter to safety across the border. But just minutes before their scheduled departure, he insists on seeing the adoptive mother as he confronts a sudden change of heart.
Toronto filmmaker Meelad Moaphi is a BFA (’10) and MFA (’19) graduate of York University’s Film Production program. His works have screened internationally, including at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and Montreal World Film Festival. Moaphi’s unique international upbringing has informed his culturally diverse body of work, which range in pieces in English, Farsi, and even Spanish and Japanese. Moaphi has served as video editor on a variety of commercial content for multinational clients and teaches workshops on film directing, screenwriting, and editing. “Worth” — Moaphi’s latest short film, shot in Pakistan with Urdu dialogue — which was distilled from his feature screenplay to serve as a proof-of-concept, began its festival run in November 2019 and has already picked up 4 awards.
It’s impossible to imagine the sacrifices made by those who must abandon their homes and loved ones for a better life. Apart from the only world they know, many leave behind their identities. “Worth” explores the impossibility of certain choices made at the moment of departure and the gravity of these dilemmas — what or even who to sacrifice at such crossroads. Amidst all the madness, there is no greater fear than the primal one a parent feels when facing the possibility of being separated from their child.
The screenplay for “Worth” was distilled from a feature screenplay I wrote. Considering that the longer script was intended as a first feature, and that its story was set in a very specific location, I decided to test the story and its characters by producing a proof-of-concept that could simultaneously serve as a standalone short film.
The intention was never to cram a feature into a short, but rather to strategically select a snippet that could convey both the narrative and thematic gist of its source material, as well as effectively convey the protagonist’s conflict. After toying with several possibilities, I ultimately decided to hone in on the inciting incident and base the short on the first 20 pages of the feature screenplay.
If the objective is to create an effective proof-of-concept, it’s not enough to merely test the characters and narrative by producing the film locally in Canada using unconvincing set design. An integral element of the endeavour was precisely to explore the challenges that could arise from the literal production, or realization, of the film. With that in mind, I decided to bite the bullet and, with my shoestring budget, shoot the piece completely on location, in Pakistan, with an entirely local cast and crew. From a screenwriting and directing (but also producing) standpoint, only that could serve as the complete test.
“Worth” is the result of my adventure.
Among the soil
A lonely gardener of a secluded property is unable to cope with his hired helps’ sudden resignation.
Francis Luta is a Canadian filmmaker, born in the Philippines, with works ranging from fiction and non-fiction. He started out as a graphic designer in Toronto Canada, then moved to Berlin Germany to work as an installation artist intern for art duo ‘GodsDogs’ while working two part-time jobs as an art director for galeries ‘Michael Janssen’ and ‘Loop Raum’. One year later he moved back to Toronto to exhibit his first-ever solo art show “Trichophilia” in 2011. He then became an Art Director and curator for Eastern European art gallery ‘Bezpala Brown’. In 2012 he shifted his focus on videography. He directed the short film “Seeing” in 2014, produced by Oscar-winning cinema lens company Cooke Optics. In 2015 he directed a short documentary “The Hammer Band: Music Child” that won Best Music Video at the Toronto Short Film Festival. In 2016 he directed a short biography film on Adam Shoalts “Explorer” which premiered at the Victoria Film Festival. The same year his social commentary documentary “Project Gelb” premiered at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. In 2017 he wrote and directed a short horror film “Vivid” produced by Canon Canada. His most recent projects include his first feature-length documentary “Alone Across The Arctic” and biopic “Brent Everett x”.
An audio file is emailed which contains a strange & terrifying message that unleashes a demonic presence
Julian Bate-Vergette is an Ottawa-Canadian director known for The Silencer which as has been accepted in numerous festivals & won a few awards including Best Director. He is an up and coming film maker who has been expanding his strengths by working in the local Ottawa film community and curating genre films with his company, Zero Theory Media.
SILENTIUM is the second film where horror and technology is explored. We first tackled this combination with the film NEUROtonin about a man who has trouble sleeping and has a chip in bedded into his brain to aid him that causes horrific effects.
This film uses Sound Files as a method of unleashing terror with the use of file sharing. Taking a cue from The Ring, we used the method of digital files and how we nonchalantly transfer them peer to peer to bring about horrific effects to the individual unknowingly.
Filmed primarily in Ottawa and in a coffee shop located in the Byward Market, we want to highlight the talent in genre filmmaking which Ottawa has.
Our company, Zero Theory Media, is fully committed to exploit the creatives in the Ottawa region that want to make genre films and let everyone know about the talent that is located here.
This film uses a Giallo type of lighting primarily to give a surreal feel when things ramp up.
We want to explore more ways horror can be infused with modern technology and hope you enjoy this entry.
A life of a Yoga instructor
Creator: Seth Mohan
Rishta explores the conflicting romantic ideals of Eastern and Western cultures. The short film is set over the course of one evening after Saba has reluctantly agreed to meet a potential suitor identified by her parents. The experience forces Saba to reconcile her own views with the expectations of her traditional Pakistani family.
Silvet Ali is a Montreal-based journalist and filmmaker who graduated from Ryerson University’s Chang School Film Program in 2018. She completed her BA in Journalism with a Minor in Film Studies at Concordia University and joined the CBC Montreal team as a journalist and producer in both radio and television in 2009. After nearly a decade of working at CBC, she decided to explore her love for film and now divides her time between Montreal and Toronto, working in both broadcast journalism and film. Ali was inspired to tell the story of Rishta based on her personal experience growing up as the daughter of Pakistani immigrants in Montreal and navigating societal pressures.
Rishta is a personal story that I feel will resonate with many first-generation South Asians. It delves into the debate of love vs. arranged marriage, and a Pakistani woman feeling pressure to go the traditional route. The protagonist, Saba, is obsessed with Hollywood’s depiction of romance, and I wanted to depict the story of an arranged marriage using traditional rom-com tropes, with references to When Harry Met Sally, Romeo + Juliet and My Fair Lady. It’s a story I’ve wanted to share for a long time, to give others insight into the societal pressures women from traditional backgrounds can face.
The BAD BOY visuals play on the idea that you should never judge a book by its cover. The story follows a “Bad Boy” and his seemingly suspicious activities. Questionable intentions, a woman being misled, and a twist at the end to remind the audience that all is not what it seems.
The underlying purpose of this video is to attack the stereotype that has arisen around South Asian males in Metro Vancouver. With an increase in gang violence amongst this population, blanket stereotypes are beginning to emerge. This video’s message aims to curtail those stereotypes.
“Bad Boy”, GPS’s third single of their most recent album “Tonight.” The track features vocals from up-and-coming Indo-Canadian recording artist Anjali.
GPS would like to thank desiFEST music, Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia for helping make this project possible, and of course you for taking the time to watch, listen and share. Download the mp3 for free here:
Avani is a shy 28-year-old on a desperate mission to lose her virginity before her more worldly 18-year-old cousin Alisha does.
Shetu Modi is a writer, director and editor based in Toronto. She holds a bachelor of fine arts in film production and a master of arts in journalism.
Shetu’s documentary Drape, Tuck, Pleat was featured by Brown Girl Magazine. Her first narrative short, Hot Air, screened at festivals in Toronto and Los Angeles in 2016. Her second narrative short The Pits screened at 14 festivals and won three audience choice awards. Shetu also shoots and edits the web series Smita’s Eats, starring her mom, and is currently developing the fiction web series Green. She is available for freelance fiction film editing.
Shetu has worked as a video producer and editor at the Canadian Press since 2010, where she has covered the Toronto International Film Festival for the past five years. She was the recipient of a Digital Publishing Award in 2017.
Title: Lake Shore Drive
Premiere: Toronto Premiere | Country: Canada | Year: 2018 | Runtime: 1.24
Rohan Fernandez finds a new lease on post-prison life with the help of Alice Brinkley, his social worker and Linda, his dog. A universal love story inspired by a real incident.