There’s no question that filmmaking is more accessible than ever before. As a student currently in film school, I have the opportunity to make several shorts within the school year. I learned the foundations of filmmaking by picking up a DSLR, watching YouTube tutorials and making short videos with my friends. At that point I still had much to learn but I wanted to keep practicing.
Living in Brampton, there’s often a feeling of disconnect from the arts culture in the city. The summer after I graduated from high school, I submitted a film I created to a local festival called Toronto Youth Shorts. To our surprise, the film was accepted. I also received the chance to view work by other young local filmmakers. The stories were inherently diverse and representative of Toronto, a city containing multi-faceted stories from people of different backgrounds. Leaving that festival made me think about the type of narratives I wanted to share.
After my first year at York University I still felt unsure of what I really wanted to write about. No longer working with my high school friends, I didn’t know who I wanted to work with. That summer, I came across a workshop called Unsung Voices run by the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. This experience allowed me to see and take pride in Asian representation in cinema, on and off screen. Having that kind of representation was a relief because Asians are rarely represented in the film industry.
Unsung Voices gave me the opportunity to create a short film while picking up some other skillsets in the process. I went into the workshop with a cultural specific concept, a film about a young Pakistani-Canadian girl being forced to use whitening creams by her mother. The community helped me bring my vision to life. Fast forward to approaching my third year in film school and my approach to filmmaking had changed — now, I strive to showcase underrepresented narratives.
The latest film that I made at York University featured an entirely South Asian cast with themes that people from the community could relate to. Through time I hope to see and create honest representation of Asian-Canadians in Canadian film in the many years to come.
Goree will be playing as part of the Transitions programme for Toronto Youth Shorts on August 12.
Written by Haaris for Toronto Youth Shorts.