Short Films to See

While the young Sikh filmmakers are probably preparing for the annual Sikhnet Youth Film Festival (have you seen their ad on satellite television, it is very impressive!), I recently came across some internet announcements for a list of fascinating Canadian-produced short films that I hope will galvanize future discussions.MeMasiMrClean2C.jpg

Although I must confess, at this point, I have NOT seen any of them, still, I wanted to highlight them and hear back from the Langa(r)eaders about their thoughts. Hopefully some of our more vocal Canadian Langa(r)eaders will give us first voice about the films: P.Singh, yes even kaptaan, and others.

Me, Masi, and Mr. Clean
The description from the films website is quite poignant:

Eleven year old Seema has issues with her skin colour. Surrounded by the white kids of her community, and inundated by her masis (aunt) opinion that fair skin is better, Seema resorts to drastic measures to bleach her skin.

Seema mistakenly believed that using Mr. Clean on her skin will lead to a fairer, more beautiful colour. When Seema ends up in the hospital an unsuspecting character helps her understand skin colour isnt what defines the person – its whats beneath that counts[link]

I remember a few years ago at the same Jakara Junior camp that Mewa Singh described, in a separate female forum, female participants viewed the Dove advertisement Evolution to begin a discussion about body image and perception. From descriptions of those conversations, weight and skin color were the topics that were most discussed. It is wonderful to note that our community is beginning to make our own films that will help us tell our own story to relate to our own community in much more effective terms.

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The Lesson
Called The Lesson, first-time filmmaker Punam Kumar Gill (fascinating that in the news article they write Kumar, I assume to emphasize that she does not come from a Sikh background) explores notions of Canadian identity through the story of her father, Ramesh Gill, a driving instructor.

The summary from the film website describes the content as:

Ramesh is a rare example of a man who chooses to live with minimal things and enjoys his peace of mind. The Lesson also reveals how, 25 years ago, Ramesh started a driving school in Mill Woods in Edmonton, a distinctly ethnic and South Asian neighborhood, and helped build his community by teaching new immigrants how to drive.

The Lesson is shot similar to a fictional film, however the film uniquely casts Ramesh and all the characters as themselves. Viewers will ride in the back seat on an actual driving lesson with a new driver![link]

In Canada as well as the United States, economic, social, and political opportunities are only opened up with a drivers license. I have read in the past harrowing stories from immigrant victims of domestic abuse that have emphasized their lack of mobility (due to not having a car or not knowing how to drive) as making them feel stuck (figuratively and literally) in their situations.

The film has garnered quite great reviews and has even been nominated for the Best Short Film award by the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association.

The films website even announces School Presentations that can be made along with the film. Their usage in classrooms throughout Canada (and beyond?) sounds well thought-out.

  • Social Studies: Alberta’s cultural history (grade 4), impact of immigration and diversity in Canada (grade 5, grade 7)
  • Career & Life Management: career development, character development, personal and community leadership (grades 8-12)
  • English Language Arts: generating an idea into a 3-act story, how to pitch an idea (grades 7-12)
  • Drama: the creative life, curiosity and storytelling (grades 7-12)
  • Communication Design & Technology/Film Studies: making an independent film, how to produce (grades 7012)

The filmmaker is creating a trilogy series about immigrant tales in Brampton and Surrey to be produced by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

The 12 minute DVD of The Lesson can be purchased for $20. Upcoming screenings will be this weekend in Toronto, then in Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton.


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9 Responses to “Short Films to See”

  1. Holier says:

    Great stuff!

    But seriously, Langar Hall … please… get a Canadian blogger. And an English, Malaysian, Singaporean, Indian, African :)

    The true Guru's langar hall is universal .

  2. Holier says:

    Great stuff!

    But seriously, Langar Hall … please… get a Canadian blogger. And an English, Malaysian, Singaporean, Indian, African :)

    The true Guru’s langar hall is universal .

  3. Jodha says:

    Holier,

    We're working on it. We're still a young blog. Give us time!

  4. Jodha says:

    Holier,

    We’re working on it. We’re still a young blog. Give us time!

  5. Truth of this people says:

    [In case you didn't read the fine print, here it is again: "We love hearing from our visitors, so please do leave your comments! No profanity, name calling, or discrimination, please – we try to keep The Langar Hall a clean, open, and hate-free zone. We reserve the right to edit or remove inappropriate comments. – Admin Kaur]

  6. Truth of this people says:

    [You are entitled to your opinion – but you're not entitled to share derogatory messages on this site – sorry. Admin Kaur]

  7. Truth of this people says:

    [In case you didn’t read the fine print, here it is again: “We love hearing from our visitors, so please do leave your comments! No profanity, name calling, or discrimination, please – we try to keep The Langar Hall a clean, open, and hate-free zone. We reserve the right to edit or remove inappropriate comments. – Admin Kaur]

  8. Truth of this people says:

    [You are entitled to your opinion – but you’re not entitled to share derogatory messages on this site – sorry. Admin Kaur]

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