A trailblazing documentary about three LGBTQ+ people of South Asian ancestry has won another significant prize. Emergence: Out of the Shadows, directed by Vinay Giridhar, captured Best Feature Film (19+) at the inaugural Langley City Film Festival.
“The Langley City Film Festival marked the end of our film festival circuit, with 51 official selections in total,” Giridhar said in a news release. “I feel we have come full circle by showcasing our film in Metro Vancouver, where the film was shot, and walking away with one of the top prizes!”
Executive producer Alex Sangha founded Sher Vancouver, which has been advocating for LGBTQ+ people of South Asian ancestry for 15 years. He joined visual artist Jag Nagra and his friend, Kayden Bhangu, in sharing their stories of coming out in the film.
“I am very happy but, more importantly, feel the film is having an impact on youth struggling with their sexuality, helping them come out, and even saving lives,” Giridhar said.
In addition, Nagra’s parents, Avtar and Rajwant; her brother, Harv; her partner, Agata Matyszczuk; and Sangha’s mother, Jaspal, appeared in the documentary.
The City of Langley’s arts, recreation, culture, and heritage committee organized the festival, collaborating with the Langley Arts Council and the civic government.
Giridhar and Sangha prepare for Sundar fest
It’s not the film’s first award. Emergence: Out of the Shadows also won the Best Documentary prize at the 2021 International South Asian Film Festival and the Flame Award for championing change at the 2022 U.K. Asian Film Festival. Moreover, it snared the Festival Favourite award at the 2021 Cinema Diverse fest.
In addition, Giridhar received a Special Mention for Best Feature Documentary at the 2021 Chicago South Asian Film Festival.
Meanwhile, Sangha and Giridhar announced this month that there will be more than $15,000 in cash prizes at the Sundar Prize Film Festival. They plan to launch this event at Centre Stage at Surrey City Hall in June 2024.
The Sundar fest will screen documentaries, features, and short films on social causes and public issues. Films can be submitted online for consideration until January 1, 2024.
Ladner United Church (4960 48th Avenue in Delta) will present a free public screening of Emergence: Out of the Shadows at 6 p.m. on Sunday (October 29). To RSVP, visit this Facebook event. The film is also available on YouTube. Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter @charliesmithvcr and Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia.