WATCH: Sukh Johal Visits The Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival
Lights, Camera, Action!
Last week the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival held it’s first annual networking event with some of Metro Vancouver’s hottest online, film / television actors/actresses, producers and creative minds at the Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, SFU Woodwards in Vancouver. The event was primarily sponsored by the Canada India Business Council, with other local sponsors including Surrey604. The evening was hosted by actress and model Mannu Sandhu.
SFU’s Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre was centre stage for VISAFF 2014.
The evening started off by showcasing productions in short films by local talent and then transitioned into a panel discussion with some of the local industry’s leading experts. The panelists, who were moderated by Sharad Khare, CEO of Khare Communications, spoke on all sorts of challenges and strategies about bringing new talent to the forefront in the so-called ‘mainstream’ media. They spoke about funding, collaborations and challenges of the industry.
Once the floor opened up that’s when the stars came out. Actors and Actresses who have graced the screens of Hollywood, Bollywood and local film and television productions were all there to share their experiences on battles won and endured during their years in the business.
From stereotypical roles like taxi drivers and corner store owners to less popular but more attractive roles like scientists and doctors… the role of actors/actresses of Indian descent is changing… with the emergence of the online community and YouTube, VISAFF is hoping to be a game changer. From Hollywood North to Bollywood West, there is definitely something there….
Geographically Vancouver seems like the perfect backdrop for the emergence of this new world where entertainment drives social change and produces some of the most creative talent in the world. The fusion of cross cultural sharing and interfaith understanding has created an environment where collaborations, mentorship and fusion are the keys to a thriving new economy in the heart of the Asian Pacific Gateway region on the Pacific.
Metro Vancouver could become home to a new type of film industry – a fusion of Hollywood North and Bollywood West – home to some of the best and most attractive and scenic locations in the nation where streets are filmed as New York and Los Angeles, and studios are used to build monstrous sets showcasing earthquakes and car chases. It’s no secret that time zones and access to experienced production crews in Vancouver are also a factor.
If this new breed of entertainment is to happen in the west, some heavy players with the right political clout, charisma and will need to step up to the plate. Before that happens, we need a new flavour of entertainment where pop culture, creative art and a push for social change accelerate the need for film and music. Film has the power to drive real change. Partners from different industries can bring not only social change but they can bring together nations. There was a distinct synergy among those I met at the VISAFF 2014 Networking Event. We’ve got something fresh and new for you in the west!
Pictured here are (L-R) Surrey604’s Sukh Johal, Actress Balinder Johal, VISAFF Executive Director, Model/Actress Mannu Sandhu, Actor/Comedian Sunee Dhaliwal, Actress Nimet Kanji.
It was an action packed evening at the VISAFF 2014 networking event.
Casting director Judy Lee, Women in Film and Television”s President Carleen Kyle and Entertainment Lawyer Kim Roberts were part of an all-star expert panel.
The stars were out at VISAFF 2014 bringing together actors, actresses and producers.
Film producer, VISAFF Board member and Crazy8s Executive Director Paul Armstrong spoke about funding in the world of film and television.
Sharad Khare shared some of his own challenges and experiences in the creative world.
Actor, Comedian and YouTube spoof star Arkie Kandola was ecstatic to win an autographed picture of Bollywood Star Saif Ali Khan.
Sharad Khare, CEO of Kharé Communications was the Moderator for the VISAFF 2014 film industry expert panel.
The Participants were in full force as renowned local producer Kamal Sharma talks film with some creative minds.
VISAFF was sponsored by the Canada India Business Council.
Here is a brief backgrounder on the panelists.
Kim Roberts- Producer/ Entertainment Lawyer with Sephia Films
Kim C. Roberts brings over two decades of entertainment law experience to Sepia Films, having provided legal advice on a wide range of film and television projects through his law firm Roberts & Stahl. At Sepia, Roberts oversees co-productions, production financing, contract negotiations, E&O insurance and tax credits for Canadian and foreign productions and certification for Canadian productions, as well as all aspects of production legal.
Carleen Kyle- President of Woman in Film and Television
As writer/director Carleen Kyle’s 2012 Crazy 8s winning short ‘The Weather Girl’ has been an official selection at many film and comedy festivals across North America. In addition to winning three Leo nominations: Best Screenplay, Best Performance by a Female (Johannah Newmarch) and Best Editor (Gordon Rempel) and being recognized with an Honourable Mention for Best Short at the Sunset Film Festival in LA, ‘The Weather Girl’ was awarded Best Performance by a Female (Johannah Newmarch) and the Women in Film and Television Vancouver Award for Best Female Director at the 2013 Vancouver Short Film Festival.
Judy Lee- Vancouver Casting Director
Judy Lee is a Vancouver native whose work in film has taken her from Los Angeles to the Sierras of Mexico. Her career began as an actor in Hollywood North, expanded into script development and production in Montreal and L.A. before serendipitous twists brought her back to Vancouver. She has worked on numerous television movies and feature films starring actors such as Donald Sutherland, Charlize Theron, John Cusack, Jake Gyllenhaal, Danny Glover, Christopher Plummer,Ron Perlman, and Simon Pegg.
Paul Dhillon- Writter, Director, Journalist
R. Paul Dhillon is a seasoned film and television writer, producer and director based in Vancouver. He holds a degree in Communications and a minor in Film from Simon Fraser University. Dhillon has amassed a number of production credits, including TEARS AND SIGHS on the abuses of alcohol in the South Asian community as well as a VARIETY television show for Rogers Multicultural Station; PLANET AAJ (1997/98), a South Asian variety show shown on Baton Broadcasting’s flagship Vancouver television station VTV (now BC-CTV); The SAINT SOLDIER (1999/2000) – a one-hour documentary on B.C.’s Sikh community also for CTV; SLICES OF MY LIFE (1992/93), a slice of the immigrant experience, which was produced through a grant from B.C. Ministry of Tourism; SOUTH VAN STUD (1992), a play for Expressions ’92 Youth Festival; and AUTUMN LEAVES (1990/91), a short film which was selected at Montreal’s Student Film Festival. Dhillon has also written several short and feature length film scripts including THE FUSION GENERATION and SPICELAND, both of which his company MMM Films is developing. His documentary THE BHANGRA GENERATION for Rogers’ Toronto-based OMNI Television made its broadcast debut on September 24, 2008. In that same year, he also saw the release of his debut indie feature film SWEET AMERIKA, which he co-wrote, produced and directed for MMM Film Finance International. SWEET AMERIKA was released in Canadian theatres on September 19, 2008. The well received film made its US Debut at the Spinning Wheels Film Festival of Hollywood in November 2008 and was released in US on May 22, 2009. Both The Bhangra Generation and Sweet Amerika were acquired by CBC for airing on their specialty channel BOLD! He is currently finishing off a Documentary Series for Rogers OMNI and will soon begin work on his next feature film The Fusion Generation, which will be made in two separate English and Punjabi versions for international release.
Mandip Sandhu: Writer, Director, Producer at Sand Dune Entertainment
With a passion for raw reality storytelling, Mandip Sandhu has taken a long journey to finally pursue and see to fruition his dream of filmmaking. It was after many years of ignoring the gnawing itch to write stories while he pursued other endeavours that Sandhu decided to give in and began studying screenwriting at SFU’s Praxis Center. He knew then that this was his calling. This initial foray into the filmmaking work, turned into recurring extra opportunities on film and television. He took this opportunities are ways to soak in everything about filmmaking, spending a large part of his time on set chatting with production crew and learning about every facet of the industry. Most recently Sandhu’s latest film, Devil’s Night, won the Royal Reel Award at the 2013 Canada International Film Festival and was screened at the 2013 Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival. He is currently focused on funding and production of his upcoming feature film, The Line, where Sandhu aims to take the experiences his own stained past, Degree in Criminology and his years of service in the Criminal Justice System to share stories that are soulful renditions of the trials and tribulations of the criminal underworld. Sandhu is looking forward to once again being a part of VISAFF in 2014 by screening the trailer for The Line.
Paul Armstrong- Producer
Paul Armstrong is an award-winning Vancouver film, television and theatre producer. He is also founder and producer of The Celluloid Social Club, a monthly screening of short films. Most recently he joined Crazy8s, the 8 day filmmaking challenge, as the Executive Director.Recent feature film credits include ‘Lawrence & Holloman’ directed by Matthew Kowalchuk; ‘Moving Malcolm’ starring Elizabeth Berkley; the Genie Award nominated ‘See Grace Fly’ and ‘Ill-Fated’ which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Short film credits include the record breaking 13 Leo Award winning ‘Anxious Oswald Greene’ by Marshall Axani, and a dozen other short films.Paul has also produced TV commercials with Adplay Media for WirelessWave, produced music videos for Bif Naked, Jim Byrnes and Jeff Martin of the Tea Party and produced 20 plays, from Shakespeare to Ibsen to Mamet
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