A queer South Asian group will offer more than $10,000 in cash awards to filmmakers.
The registered charity Sher Vancouver plans to launch the Sundar Prize and Festival at Surrey’s City Centre Library in June 2024. According to the group, the prize and festival will “recognize beautiful films that uplift our world through impactful and informative storytelling”. Sundar means “beautiful” in Sanskrit.
While films with any theme will be welcomed, Sher Vancouver is encouraging filmmakers who focus on specific issues. They include human rights, immigrants and refugees, social-justice issues, Indigenous LGBTQ_+ communities, people of colour, marginalized peoples, the environment and climate change, and education.
A festival jury will award $5,000 to whomever makes the best feature film. Meanwhile, the filmmaker who creates the best documentary will receive $2,500. Other prizes will go for the best short film ($1,500), best animation ($1,000), and best student film ($500).
Sundar fest leaders created Emergence
Sundar Festival’s manager is Sher Vancouver founder Alex (Amar) Sangha. He’s a registered clinical social worker and registered clinical counsellor and well-known member of Vancouver’s LGBTQ+ community.
“Sher Vancouver wants to bring the best, most beautiful, and impactful films from around the world to the heart of Surrey City Centre for the people to enjoy and learn from and drive change in our communities,” Sangha said in a statement.
Filmmaker and visual artist Vinay Giridhar is the Sundar Festival director. He directed the documentary Emergence: Out of the Shadows, which has been screened at nearly 50 film festivals.
This film focused on three Metro Vancouver residents of South Asian ancestry—Sangha, Kayden Bhangu, and Jag Nagra—who’ve embraced their LGBTQ+ identity. Sangha produced the film.
“It’s honest and raw—and all three are incredibly articulate about what they’ve experienced,” Pancouver noted in November. “Their stories are reinforced by the touching commentaries from Jag’s parents and Amar’s mom.”