Vancouver has long been recognized as a hub for Canadian gang activity. Locality, ethnicity and access are often debated and yet the problems persist. For young filmmaker Mandip Sandhu, the issues around criminal activity are not about these broad boxed categories, it is about real life.
With a coloured background himself, at one time Sandhu fell prey to this often alluring lifestyle, but was one of the lucky ones to have found his way out. He took these experiences and went on to pursue a degree in Criminology and to involve himself as part of the rehabilitation system by working at a halfway house for newly released federal parolees. Unfortunately, after many years of watching the revolving door of offenders, disillusionment set in and he decided to battle this war in a different way.
Channeling his creative spirit, Sandhu began screenwriting, eventually enrolling in a screenwriting program at SFU’s Praxis Center as well as volunteering on independent films and acting as an extra. This initial foray into filmmaking work turned into recurring extra opportunities on film and television. He took these as ways to soak in everything he could about filmmaking, spending a large part of his time on set chatting with production crew and learning about every facet of the industry. He knew that he didn’t just want to write a story, he wanted to be the person to shoot the screenplay and bring his stories to life in the vision that only he can see.
With a passion for raw reality storytelling, he now feels ready to produce his passion project, The Line, which speaks to the precarious line that is so easily crossed for many into a lifestyle that is difficult to retract from. The film follows former drug trafficker, JT after he is released from serving five years for manslaughter in a gangland shootout. Although reformed, he has been disowned from his family. Back on the streets, he soon finds that his only option to survive is to get back in the game in the midst of a full blown gang war. The goal of The Line is to not just to tell an authentic story in a very genuine way, but also to create a visually stunning film that really pushes the envelope far as Canadian projects go.
“There are numerous debates over what others perceive the problem is, often those who have never even been close enough to the realities of this world to truly understand it,” states Sandhu. “The influences and problems are deeper than any one issue and we cannot begin to change it by looking slapping a label on it. I don’t have answers but I do have a perspective as someone who’s been there and chosen to overcome it.”
Sandhu has either been involved or studying the stories of local criminal activity for over 20 years, and has spent countless hours interviewing, researching and engaging with different sectors of this community. This film is the culmination of these efforts along with his own equity. Taking the quality of production very seriously, Sandhu has spent $15,000 of his own dollars on the pitch clip and trailer alone and has now launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds necessary to go into full production in February 2015. It was decided to shoot a full length trailer as part of this pitch to help showcase the style of storytelling and production value he would like to see in the finish project. All dollars raised from the Indiegogo campaign are being matched dollar for dollar by private investors.
More details about the film can be found at www.thelinefilm.com.