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Surrey filmmaker, 40, dead after ‘isolated incident between two neighbours’ in Newton, IHIT says

Award-winning Manbir ‘Mani’ Amar is ID’d as the man killed Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 31
Filmmaker Mani Amar in a photo from 2012. (File photo)

An “isolated incident between two neighbours” led to one man’s death in Newton Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 31), according to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).

Surrey resident Manbir “Mani” Amar, 40, was killed during a physical confrontation between two men, IHIT said Thursday (Sept. 1).

IHIT released the victim’s name in hopes of advancing their investigation of the altercation, which happened in the 14100-block of 61 Avenue, a block west of École Woodward Hill, just before 2 p.m. on Aug. 31.

Arrested for murder, a suspect was in custody Thursday.

Sgt. Timothy Pierotti, IHIT’s media relations officer, confirmed that Amar was a filmmaker who made documentaries and was also described as an activist. “We’ve spoken to the family about him,” Pierotti said.

Amar once shot a documentary about South Asian gangsters and followed it up with a fictional film about the same subject. The former Port Alberni resident won awards for his work, which included another documentary about drug-addicted people who live on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Five years ago, in 2017, Amar sought to find an actress to play the role of Surrey murder victim Maple Batalia in his next film, a dramatization of the final hours of her life, but it’s not clear if the movie was ever made.

Several stories about Amar and his work are posted on

On Thursday, IHIT won’t say if a weapon was used in the incident that led to Amar’s death, but Pierotti said no firearm was involved.

“Tragically this situation escalated to a point where a life was taken,” Pierotti said.

IHIT ask any witnesses to contact the IHIT Information Line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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