One of the biggest South Asian film festivals in Canada is kicking off its annual event in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday, with unity in diversity as this year's theme for all its featured films and documentaries.
The Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival will feature 80 films, including 12 features and eight documentaries beginning Friday, Nov 11, at two venues in Surrey — city hall's Centre Stage theatre and SFU Surrey.
"Coming out of COVID ... I think it's the perfect time for us to say that diversity is so important and for us to actually unite in that diversity together," said festival producer Mannu Sandu.
She said this year's festival is a way to showcase films made by the South Asian community, with the City of Surrey as a place for future Bollywood films.
"Punjabi films get shot [in Surrey] like every second day. Bollywood is also looking at us as a prominent place to come and shoot."
The opening gala featuring a panel of filmmakers will take place on Thursday, Nov. 10, at Centre Stage with entertainment from violinist Raaginder Singh Momi, known simply by his stage name as Raaginder.
"I feel like I've lived a very diverse life ... so it's perfect that [diversity] is the theme for the festival because I feel like my music goes perfectly with that."