Some Surrey-area residents will be profiled in a new documentary film about being gay or lesbian in the South Asian community of Metro Vancouver.
The “taboo topic,” as described on the website emergencefilm.net, is explored in Emergence: Out of the Shadows, due out late next year.
“Parents and their children discuss the struggles they have endured and overcome to preserve the family through generations to come,” the website says of the film. “Success often means setting aside long-established culture and tradition for compassion, love, and acceptance.”
The social-justice short doc is produced by Alex Sangha, a North Deltan who is also a cast member in Emergence.
“The idea has been around for about a year, and I’ve always wanted to do a film like this,” said Sangha, a counsellor and founder of Sher Vancouver, a non-profit organization for LGBTQ South Asians.
A 90-second video interview with Sangha and Emergence director Vinay Giridhar is posted to vimeo.com.
Sangha also produced the 2018 documentary film My Name Was January, which focused on the life and murder of Surrey-raised transgender woman January Marie Lapuz.
“After that success of My Name Was January, a lot of people were saying to me, ‘Well, why don’t you do another film?’ and it all came together.”
Sangha says he’s hoping to “educate people and save lives” by making Emergence.
“A lot of young people in this community feel very alienated and isolated, and are struggling,” Sangha said. “I think what makes Emergence unique is that it’s not only about the stories and lived experiences of people who’ve come out, it’s also about the responses and the reactions of their parents. And that is one of the biggest fears of any gay or lesbian child. One of the people in the film was rejected by their parents, so that story is told.”
Sangha describes Emergence, another Sher Vancouver production, as an educational film he aims to show to high school students and on television. To that end, with “five or six” hours of footage already filmed, the documentary will be edited to around 25 minutes in length.
To date, sponsors of the film include Vancouver Pride Society, Vancity, OUTtv, CUPE BC, Unifor Local 3000 and MoveUP.
“Sher Vancouver is very happy that the Vancouver Pride Society is supporting local filmmakers and helping queer people of colour share their stories and lived experience,” said a recent news release from Sher Vancouver. “Special thanks to the executive director of the Vancouver Pride Society, Andrea Arnot, for facilitating this sponsorship.”
Sangha said Emergence has signed a broadcast agreement with OUTtv and will be distributed to high schools, colleges, universities and elsewhere through Moving Images Distribution, described as a non-profit social justice distributor based in Vancouver.