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Why is Horror Film “Odd Girl” being shot at L.A. Matheson?



“Odd Girl, a horror short film being shot right here in Surrey! Odd Girl was a film that I heard about during the Storyhive Shorts Competition a few months ago. Sadly, the film didn’t get funded, but that didn’t stop Rami. Rami Kahlon, an actress, writer, and director, has put her all into this project. It is currently being self funded, and crowd funded. I had a chance to talk to her about the film, and this is what she had to say about “Odd Girl.”

Describe your film in a sentence.
“Isolation kills.”

When did this project begin?

“Odd Girl” began over a year ago when I first wrote the script, basing it on my own experiences in high school and my curiosity towards the backstory of individuals that I encountered, yet never fully understood. This story is my supernatural take on what many students from different walks of life feel – from the isolated and lonely individuals to the admired and popular. The script was submitted to the internationally held “Eat Crow Horror Scriptwriting Competition” and was an official selection, eventually placing as a semi-finalist. After generating buzz in the local community, I decided to pursue it and teamed up with Surrey-based filmmaker friends that I met earlier this year.

What does this project mean to you?

This project is an honest portrayal of isolation in high schools, which is a feeling that is experienced at its peak at such a young age. As an actor it is my job to go to dark places and share that with the world, and for me, this film is a physical embodiment of the hurt and loneliness that many of us hide. At the end of the day, the message in this film is that social exclusion can drastically affect a persons’ psyche, and it is up to us to be more socially inclusive to avoid tragedies caused by feeling worthless and lonely.

I see you’re filming at L.A. Matheson, any reason for this specific school?

L.A. Matheson is integral to the film for personal reasons and for the story point. This school helped launch my career with its Video Production and Theatre courses, taught by Mr. De Luca and Ms. Kowalski, respectively.

I have a successful career working in film as an actress in such productions as “Supernatural,” “Tom and Grant,” and more because of my training at the high school. I want to come back to show students that a career in the arts and in social justice through artistic measures is possible. That’s why we’ve partnered with “Mustang Justice” at L.A. Matheson Secondary School to inspire others to take action against negative group mentality, especially regarding cliques. With that said, L.A. Matheson is a great school, but like a lot of suburban high schools, the school can also be lonely and isolating, especially when you have difficulty making friends or being social.

What are your movie inspirations for this film?

The major movie and tv inspirations for this film are “Gone Girl,” “Get Out,” and “13 Reasons Why.” “Gone Girl” embodies the emotional turmoil of the lead actress, “Get Out” brings in the underlying question of “something is wrong, but we don’t know what yet,” and “13 Reasons Why” focuses on how psychologically damaging high school can be. We are also inspired by short films that capture a sense of vacancy and emptiness, such as “Vatten.”

Plans on making it a bigger film?

The plan is to make it into a TV series for networks that are looking for material that focuses on younger audiences, thriller, and dramatic issues. As this is a popular genre, we believe that there will be lots of interest and demand for relevant shows such as “Odd Girl.”

Advice to young filmmakers?

Believe in yourself and put yourself out there. Yes, it’s embarrassing. Yes, you might fail. But, in independent filmmaking, nothing will happen if you sit back. You just have to go for it. And, as you start building your team – have gratitude and respect for every single person who is taking time out of their day to help you make this film. (Shout-outs to “Odd Girl” team!!)

How can people support this film?

Right now we are coming to the community to help raise enough funds to ensure we make the best film possible. We are crowdfunding on Indiegogo until November 16th . You can make a donation to the link below and get some fantastic perks such as an original script, a walk-on role, and a producer credit. People can also support our film by following the Facebook page and Instagram page for updates, and by sharing the Indiegogo page!

Pooja Patel is a second generation Gujarati Canadian. She is currently an undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Counselling/Human development and Gender, Sexuality, Women’s Studies. She is also an influencer/content creator and has an avid passion for all things film, fashion, feminism & food. Through her platform, “The Pooja Project”, she advocates for social issues and raises conversations on important topics. You can follow her work on IG & Twitter @thepoojaproject or contact her at

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Arts and Entertainment

Surrey Art Gallery celebrates 10 years of digital and interactive art with new book about Urban Screen



Surrey, BC – Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Surrey Art Gallery’s UrbanScreen, the Gallery launched its latest publication, Art After Dark: 10 Years of UrbanScreen, on January 25 at the opening reception for its winter exhibitions.

Hot off the presses, this book presents a survey of what has become one of Canada’s leading venues for the outdoor display of projected new media art. It features images and essays by scholars, artists, critics, curators, and poets on every exhibition presented at the UrbanScreen over the past decade.

“Since its origin, Surrey Art Gallery has been committed to presenting contemporary art in its various forms,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “In response to the challenge of presenting digital media, the Gallery established the UrbanScreen in 2010. Since its inception, UrbanScreen has become a venue where artists can introduce and connect audiences to digital art. I want to commend Surrey Art Gallery for its innovative and visionary work on this emerging field of contemporary art.”

In 1998 the Gallery established the TechLab to support the production and presentation of digital media, at a time when data projectors were too expensive for most artists to acquire, and personal computers were rare in most studios. In 2009 a new challenge to the Gallery was posed by a team of artists in residence in the TechLab.

During an artists’ residency at the Gallery’s TechLab, as part of their work creating a massive database of digital photographs, Sylvia Grace Borda, M. Simon Levin, Dennis Rosenfeld, and Jer Thorp speculated that their photographic artwork should no longer have to conform to the conventional rectangle of paper or a screen. As they built relational structures to organize and present the metatag-connected database, they instead imagined, with the increasing power of data projectors, a largescale, architectonic, and interactive experience of their artwork.

The Gallery responded to the challenge of these artists, and in 2010, in collaboration with the City’s Public Art Program, established the UrbanScreen as a permanent venue to support artists and artwork that engages and connects audiences to interactive digital art. This venue, which premiered as part of the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, continues to serve as the public art investment for the Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre and host exhibitions curated by the Gallery.

Since its early years, the Gallery has maintained a practice of listening and collaborating with artists to anticipate and inform the development of its venues and future programming investment. Artists have been consistently consulted about UrbanScreen—from the original concept of its form and functionality through to its equipment rebuild and enhancements in 2015—and continue to advise on its ongoing operations. Artists specializing in new media technology form the majority of those serving on the UrbanScreen Advisory Committee. Because of this collaboration between institutions and artists, each project presented at the venue has left a legacy, building its technological capacity. Each artwork has stood on the shoulders of the artists and artworks that went before, as new code is shared, new equipment is added, and the user manual is updated with lessons learned.

UrbanScreen continues to call to the imagination and creativity of artists with its ongoing commissioning program for new projects. Each year artists experiment and test their ideas at the venue, and annually new artworks are premiered, often employing newly developed technology, and presenting projects made possible only because of the capacity of the venue and its context.

Art After Dark: 10 Years of UrbanScreen brings together writing by artists, scholars, critics, and curators to share the artworks and voices of the incredibly innovative artists and production teams, as well as the mentors and young emerging artists, who have contributed to UrbanScreen over the past decade. Funded by grants received by Surrey Art Gallery, this publication is expected to be of international interest to the global digital art community.

As with all the Gallery’s publications, Art After Dark: 10 Years of UrbanScreen is available for free download on the City’s website:

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Arts and Entertainment

Surrey Libraries Staff Picks of the Decade



Check out what books inspired staff most from 2010–2019

Have you read a good book lately? Surrey Libraries staff sure have and would like to share their Top 35 Book picks from the past decade. The list is eclectic and has something for everyone. It features both fiction and non-fiction literature as well as graphic novels, comedies, tragedies, and romances.

“With the decade dawning to a close, we thought it would be a great idea to poll our staff for their favourite books over the last ten years,” said Shane Parmar, Public Services Librarian. “We received numerous entries, librarians of course love to read, with many staff making it known they did not like being limited to only ‘one’ pick!”

The top staff pick was the Pulitzer Prize winner All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr written in 2014. The full list can be accessed here: If these titles don’t interest you, pop into any Surrey Libraries branch to ask staff for other book recommendations.

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Arts and Entertainment

R. Paul Dhillon’s Canadian Racism Film “Gone Are The Days” Wins Runner-Up Best Film Award



R. Paul Dhillon’s Canadian Racism Film “Gone Are The Days” Wins Runner-Up Best Film Award At Jaipur International Film Festival

Writer-director-producer R. Paul Dhillon’s feature documentary Gone Are The Days was awarded Jaipur International Film Festival’s (JIFF) runner-up prize as Second Best Documentary film out of over 240 films selected for the festival. The documentary was commended for its realist approach and unique filming style. “It’s so gratifying to have Dr. Hakam Bhullar and his fellow veterinarians’ struggle and fight against racism and abuse by their professional association be recognised at an international film event,” Dhillon said. “It’s a proud moment for me personally as it took me a decade to shoot this epic story of Indo-Canadian Veterinarians who endured more than decade of extreme form of racism and abuse from their regulatory body,” Dhillon added.

JAIPUR/SURREY – Canadian writer-director-producer R. Paul Dhillon’s film Gone Are The Days, a powerful indictment of institutional racism in Canada, has won the runner-up award as the Best Feature Documentary at the Jaipur International Film Festival (JIFF) in India, which concluded on January 21.

“So humbled and honoured to have our feature documentary Gone Are The Days not only make it’s world premiere at the Jaipur International Film Festival on Monday, January 20th (lucky 20-2020) but we were honoured with the Runner-Up (Second Best) featured documentary award at the festival tonight,” Dhillon announced on his facebook page, with pictures from the festival which was attended by the film’s principle subject Dr. Hakam Bhullar and his family.

The Awards ceremony was held Tuesday night where Dr. Bhullar accepted the award on behalf of Dhillon and his production company MMM Films.

“It’s so gratifying to have Dr. Bhullar and his fellow veterinarians’ struggle and fight against racism and abuse by their professional association be recognised at an international film event,” Dhillon said.

“It’s a proud moment for me personally as it took me a decade to shoot this epic story of Indo-Canadian Veterinarians who endured more than decade of extreme form of racism and abuse from their regulatory body,” Dhillon added.

The Jaipur International Film Festival ran over five days from January 17 – 21, 2020 in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The festival showcased selected films and documentaries, which were chosen based on the aim of revolutionizing the style of filming for the beginning of a new era.

Dr. Bhullar, a veterinarian practicing in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver, battled a decade long human’s rights case with fellow Indo-Canadian veterinarians against the BC Veterinary Medical Association.

Gone Are The Days is the story of the epic struggle of Canadian-South Asian Veterinarians led by their leader Dr. Bhullar, who fought against institutional racism and abuse of power for more than decade. It is a powerful story of heartbreak, perseverance and ultimately triumph of the human spirit and a fight for justice to realize their Canadian dream against great odds.

At the festival’s closing ceremony, Dhillon’s film was awarded the second best documentary film out of over 240 films selected for the festival’s program.

Upon entering the opening ceremony, located at GT Bazaar INOX Theater in Jaipur, traditional garlands of various flowers and red pigmented sindoor tilak with rice was placed at the center of the forehead. Several traditionally dressed welcomers greeted each guest with love and respect while guided onto the red carpet event.
Major Bollywood stars and legends like Prem Chopra and TP Aggarwal, a Bollywood film director and producer, were present amongst others. Participants and guests arrived from all over the world to attend the festival, such as: Germany, Poland, USA, France, China, Japan, Canada, etc. The g three days of the festival were scheduled between two locations of the GT Bazaar INOX Theater and Amer Clarks Conference Hotel. Panels were held with well known directors, actors, producers and lyricists throughout the middle days with question/answer sessions taking place.

During the screening of Gone Are The Days, attendees were brought to tears seeing the struggles of others in this situation of injustice. The blood and sweat that was put into fighting against racism in this age and day was inspiring, yet terrifying as well. To imagine that there are still those who carry such ignorant and constricting values and beliefs towards not only their colleagues but any other human being was disgusting and disheartening to witness to the core, according to feeback from the attendees.

During the screening of Gone Are The Days, the theater was full and audience’s sniffles were heard throughout. The audience were taken on a roller coaster of emotions as the real life heart aches of indo-Canadian veterinarians unfolded on screen.

On the final night, the red carpet closing ceremony was held at INOX Theater. Awards were handed out for participation and category winners, from which Gone Are The Days was awarded for displaying the struggles behind creating a revolutionary change for future generations to come.

The documentary was commended for its realist approach and unique filming style. Overall the film festival was a great success and gave film makers and participants a platform to learn and showcase their talent for the world to see.

Writer-director-producer R. Paul Dhillon says Canadian elites talk a big game about fighting racism but what Dr. Hakam Bhullar and his colleagues did in fighting this absolutely abhorrent form of extreme racism and abuse was remarkable and a testament to the human spirit and the spirit of the IMMIGRANT. The film written, directed and produced by Dhillon will begin rolling out on the international film festival circuit early next year.

“We are so proud to tell this story that the Canadian establishment doesn’t want the world to see. Mighty is the Pen and the Camera,” said Dhillon.

The film is produced by Dhillon’s MMM Film Finance International, a Vancouver-based company engaged in the production of independent feature films, documentaries and television production.

Writer-director Dhillon has previously written-produced-directed BHANGRALICIOUS, a 13-part music Doc-series and REFLECTIONS – South Asian Stories, consisting of 8 hour long documentaries featuring such luminaries as pioneering BC politician Moe Sihota, Olympian Arjan Bhullar, activist Harsha Walia, Justice Wallace Taru “Wally” Oppal, top cop Kal Dosanjh and Sikh Youth leader Bikramjit Singh Sandher among many others, for national broadcast in Canada.

Dhillon, an award winning journalist-screenwriter-director and producer, has made more than 40 productions including two dozen documentaries and television series which have aired OMNI Television, CTV and CBC.

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Arts and Entertainment

How To Be Festive But Frugal: A Guide



As the holiday season is approaching everyone is searching for the best and trying to control the budget. So calm yourself down, if you want to enjoy more and worry less about spending too much. Here is your complete guide to be frugal and festive during the holidays.

1: Planning
Making a list of the people and what you want to give them lies at the top. More important is to create a budget along with the names just to set a limit to avoid spending too much. Then find the gift according to the bill.
2: Shop strategically
Search online for better deals. Hunt for the promotions. Start comparing the prices and shop the best. This is the best time to use rewards and coupons. My Points, Inbox Dollars, ShopKick, Checkout 51 are some of the best reward apps. Don’t forget about ‘Free Shipping Day’ that lies on December 18 this year. Avoid self- gifting just because things are on sale. Make sure to buy only those that are really in need.
3: Gift your Skills
Become more creative in terms of wrapping, try to use leftovers. To decorate with flair and exploring DIY, best choice is to take help from pinterest. Stock up on the basics like ribbons, bows, handmade gift cards and front door wreaths. Create gift baskets, use baked cookies. Best would be going to the dollar store or to local thrift stores and start making on your own.
4: Don’t forget extras
Snagging freebies is the best, one can do. Just search ‘freebies’ on google and it will provide with great results or search on ‘living on the cheap website’ for local guide to freebies, discounts and deals. Another option to enjoy some cool, free performances and other entertainment is to go to local malls, parks, recreation centers, community organizations and churches.
5: Prioritize and give back
Double check the list and cut out the unnecessary stuff. Prioritize people and gifts according to the budget. Keep stick to the list and downsize holiday plans if necessary. Along with exchanging gifts and celebrating, choose random acts of kindness during this holiday season. Try donating to charity activities, serving free food to poor, giving happy notes and helping the people in need by volunteering at various locations like homeless shelters, local hospitals or soup kitchens.

Start planning now as it’s never too early to start preparing.

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Arts and Entertainment

Top 8 Must-Visit Christmas Events in Vancouver 2019



Let the festivities begin with Christmas markets, holiday performances,
and thousands of twinkling lights in Vancouver.

Tis the season for cold winter nights, hot cups of apple cider, and enjoying all things festive. The holidays are upon us, and one of the best things about this time of year in Vancouver is the amount of Christmas cheer in the city.

Whether you’ve been going to the German market for years or you’ve always wanted to take the gondola to skate on top of Grouse Mountain, Vancouver offers something for everyone—and every occasion.

Dress up for Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker, bundle up for the Bright Nights Christmas Train, or see your favourite holiday movie interpreted by the VSO. Here are the top eight events happening in Vancouver this 2019 Christmas season. And they’re perfect for the whole family.

1. Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Queen Elizabeth Theatre
December 20 – 22, 2019

Spend a night at the ballet and experience Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker with the accompaniment of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra bringing Tchaikovsky’s beautiful and memorable score to life. You’ll escape inside Clara’s journey through the Land of Sweets, see the Nutcracker battle the evil Mouse King, and marvel at the grace of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

2. Fly Like Santa

FlyOver Canada at Canada Place
November 21, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Get ready for an experience that truly takes your breath away. FlyOver Canada’s family-friendly flight simulation ride gets a Christmas upgrade over the holidays. You can smell the festive scents, see all the twinkle lights, and feel the wind on your face as you soar across Canada and the North Pole.

3. Aurora Winter Festival

PNE Hastings Park
November 22, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Step into the winter village of Aurora and see the holiday magic come to life. You could spend an entire day experiencing the skating rink, light displays, market, amusement rides, and a massive tube slide in the middle of it all. It’s touted as Canada’s largest winter festival, and it certainly lives up to its name.

4. Vancouver Christmas Market

Jack Poole Plaza
November 20 – December 24, 2019

Entering its tenth year, the Vancouver Christmas Market is a holiday staple in this city. With over 80 huts of local vendors, you can fill your belly with German treats, walk through the towering Christmas tree with 36,000 lights, and hop on the carousel—just make sure you don’t spill your cider (or mulled wine).

5. Bright Nights Christmas Train

Stanley Park
November 28, 2019 – January 1, 2020

If you want to see what three million dazzling lights looks like, head to Bright Nights at Stanley Park this season with the whole family. Grab a hot chocolate, ride the Christmas train, and experience the plaza full of breath-taking light displays. You’ll be singing carols all night long.

6. Robson Square Ice Rink

800 Robson Street
November 30, 2019 – February 28, 2020

Enjoy a quintessential holiday date night and skate hand-in-hand in the middle of Robson Square. Bring your own skates or rent a pair and skate for free in the heart of downtown Vancouver. This isn’t your average skating rink—there’s something extra magical about this holiday tradition.

7. Home Alone at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

The Orpheum
December 18 & 20, 2019

Merry Christmas ya filthy animal! Experience the classic holiday movie Home Alone in a completely new way—accompanied by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Settle into your seat and hear the movie score played live while you watch Kevin McCallister protect his home.

8. Peak of Christmas

Grouse Mountain
November 22, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Take the gondola up, up, up to the peak of Grouse Mountain and experience Christmas underneath the stars. Skate along the 8,000 square foot pond, marvel at the light installations, and enjoy a holiday movie at the Theatre in the Sky.

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