Sources Community Resources Society and the White Rock Pride Society have teamed to present a special screening of the documentary Emergence: Out of the Shadows, Saturday, Jan. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Oceana PARC Playhouse (1532 Johnston Rd.).
The film has been described as a “gripping and compassionate” tracing of three young adults’ journeys to express their sexuality in the context of their conservative South Asian families.
Filmed in, and around Surrey, Emergence: Out of the Shadows was screened in 2021 at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival and the Surrey-based Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival.
Not simply taking one side of the issue, the film – produced by Alex Sangha and directed by Surrey’s Vinay Giridhar – makes every effort to illuminate the perspectives of both the individuals and their parents.
The film follows the families’ mutual struggles with denial, shame and socio-community-cultural taboos, eventually discovering their emergence into an ability to understand, love and support each other.
“The parents address how ‘coming out’ is not only life-changing for their children but also life-altering for the parents who are often left with broken dreams and unanswered questions,” Giridhar, who lives in Newton, told Peace Arch News’ sister paper, the Surrey Now-Leader, at the time of the film’s first festival screenings.
“So educating the parents and extended families about issues faced by their queer children is crucial in providing compassion, healing as well as societal acceptance, towards these individuals.”
In addition to directing Emergence: Out of the Shadows, Giridhar also edited the film.
“It was a huge challenge bringing three different storylines together to bring out one cohesive film, without losing the essence of the individual stories,” he explained.
An animator, graphic designer and illustrator by trade, Giridhar arrived in Canada from India about a decade ago, enrolling at Vancouver Film School.
“I’ve always wanted to do something more with animation, so all my schooling was for that, too,” Giridhar said. “But since I came to Canada, it was really hard for me to break into the film industry.”
Along the way he met and worked with Alex Sangha, who is “Amar” in “Emergence” and serves as the movie’s producer, with Sher Films.
A North Deltan, 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.
“I worked on that movie as well, the poster and graphics,” Giridhar said.
“We wanted to do another one, discussing what we could do.
“The idea came about for me to do Emergence and direct it, because I was working with (Sangha) already, for so long, and he trusted me with it.”
A question and answer session will follow the screening, including Sangha, Giridhar and representatives from Sources and White Rock Pride.
“The film sheds light on the lived experience of parents, gay, and lesbian members of the South Asian community in Metro Vancouver,” notes a media release issued by Sources.
“This documentary is a brilliant opportunity to build community, understanding and support,” it adds.
“Parents, LGBTQ individuals and the community are invited to learn from nuances specific to South Asian LGBTQ experiences and to also identify with the universal experience of shared emergence to understanding, love and inclusion.”
The screening is also made possible by co-sponsors Team McKnight (from Macdonald Realty) and Dignity (Victory Memorial Park Funeral Centre).
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; tickets ($5) are available from the theatre box office, online at www.whiterockplayers.ca, or by phone at
– with files from Tom Zillich