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Sundar Prize Film Festival announces this year’s winners

Sundar Prize

The inaugural Sundar Prize Film Festival is one step closer to becoming a reality. In advance of screenings at the inaugural event in Surrey later this spring, organizers have announced the the award winners.

The Jason Loftus-directed Eternal Spring was selected for best Canadian documentary. This film is about Chinese Falun Gong practitioners hijacking TV broadcasting stations in China in 2002. It was Canada’s entry to the Academy Awards for best international feature film in 2023.

The best international documentary prize winner is Moochi Lin’s “Swallow Flying”. It’s an animated short about a five-year-old girl named Swallow, who’s abandoned at a public boarding school in Beijing. The Vancouver International Film Festival and Vancouver Asian Film Festival have each screened this film in the past.

The winner of the best feature film, Rosie, is set in Montreal. It’s about an orphaned Indigenous girl sent to live with her francophone aunt, Frederique (called Fred). Rosie was written and directed by Gail Maurice and embodies the Sundar Prize Film Festival’s theme of “Celebrating Human Resilience”.

These films, along with all the other winners, will be shown at Centre Stage at Surrey City Hall on June 15 and 16.

According to festival organizers Alex Sangha and Vinay Giridhar, there were 228 films submitted from around the world. The Sundar Prize Film Festival’s motto is “Where Cinema Meets Social Change”. And its mission is to showcase films that “raise awareness and inspire action on critical social issues and causes”. Sundar means “beautiful” in Sanskrit.

Watch the trailer for Dil Rakh: Gloves of Kin.

Meanwhile, Dil Rakh: Gloves of Kin captured the prize for best B.C. film. Directed by Dalj Brar, it’s about an Indian father trying to reconcile with his son after spending 20 years in prison. They encounter racism in a small town policed by a corrupt sheriff. Brar also acts in the film alongside Umar Farooq Khan, Joe Munroe, and Gabriel Carter.

The Sundar Prize Film Festival’s winner for best animation is Unstoppable Beat, a U.K. film directed by Luke Dye-Montefiore and Rufus Dye-Montefiore, and produced by Benjamin Worku-Dix. It focuses on a Haitian migrant pursuing the right to work and buy a home in Brazil as he tries to reunite with his family.

Watch the trailer for Unstoppable Beat.

Sundar Prize Film Festival awards Rematriation

The best short film prize award went to Amir Zargara’s “A Good Day Will Come”, which is about a professional wrestler who must decide whether he wants to represent his country through his sport or stand up to tyranny.

The Sundar Prize Film Festival also honours films with an ecological message. In the best environmental film category, the winner is Alexi Liotti’s Rematriation, which was honoured in the same category at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. It revolves around the fight to save old-growth trees in the Fairy Creek (Adi’itsx) area on western Vancouver Island.

Watch the trailer for Rematriation.

The Sundar Prize Film Festival also hands out a prize for best student film. In this category, the winner is Radha Mehta’s Dosh. Winner of the audience award at Seattle’s Tasveer Film Festival, it’s about a hard-of-hearing mother’s efforts to keep her family save after her son’s life is put in jeopardy in a pre-wedding ritual.

KDoccFF sponsors a best emerging filmmaker residency prize as part of the festival. This year’s winner is Shubham Chhabra’s Cash Cows, which centres on an Indian immigrant who’s defrauded in pursuit of permanent residency.

Watch the trailer for Dosh.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.