Canada is celebrating National Canadian Film Day today with 150 film features.
It is known to be the ‘biggest film festival ever’ with as many as 1,700 screenings across the country and other places in the world.
Deepa Mehta who is Indo-Canadian is well known for her movies and she primes the list of the top Indian features with 4 of her films.
The one-day festival, is the initiative of the non-profit Reel Canada, supported by the Canadian government. The festival marks the 150th year of the country becoming a confederation.
The films directed by Deepa Mehta include Fire (1996), Bollywood/Hollywood (2002), Water (2005) and her adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (2012).
“Showcasing ALL Canadian films on April 19th is such a great way of celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary. I am thrilled that my films are a part of this endeavour. The fact that the films are in Hindi makes it an important nod towards celebrating our diversity,” Mehta reacted in an email.
Also part of the programme will be a pair of films from another noted director from Toronto, Sturla Gunnarsson, who was born in Iceland and is married to an Indo-Canadian. As with Mehta’s take on Rushdie’s epic, one of Gunnarsson’s films that will screen is focused on a novel by an author of Indian origin – Such A Long Journey (1998) is based on the book by Rohinton Mistry, who resides in the Greater Toronto Area.
Gunnarsson’s other film, Monsoon, is a visually gorgeous documentary that tracks the entire season from its onset in Kerala to its exit from India’s northeast.
A still from the documentary Monsoon, which will screen at the Canadian National Film Day. (HT Photo)
Other films located in India but made by Canadian filmmakers include two more documentaries. Director Elisa Paloschi’s Driving With Selvi (2015), looks at Selvi, who escapes an abusive marriage and, over time, turns into South India’s first female taxi driver. Also showing will be Toronto-based Nisha Pahuja’s The World Before Her, made in 2012.
The major Indo-Canadian presence at the festival will come in the form of Breakaway, a mainstream comedy that stars actor Vinay Virmani (also the writer of the movie) and comedian Russell Peters. This 2011 release was a hit in Canada and deals with a Sikh youth with a passion for hockey, the version on ice and Canada’s national game.