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A New Film Festival On The Horizon Backed By Strong Community And Industry Support

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A New Film Festival On The Horizon Backed By Strong Community And Industry Support

The inaugural Sundar Prize Film Festival will be screened on June 15 and 16, 2024 in Surrey, British Columbia…

By Alex Sangha

The countdown is on. In just one month, on June 15 and 16, Centre Stage at Surrey City Hall will host the inaugural Sundar Prize Film Festival. This exciting event will bring together nine award-winning films from Canada, the USA, and the UK, complemented by panel discussions with filmmakers and networking receptions featuring Indian and Western fusion appetizers and snacks.

The festival is backed by 58 official sponsors and supporters from the community, including prominent entities in the film and television industry such as the Department of Canadian Heritage, the BC Arts Council, Creative BC, Knowledge Network, Warner Bros Discovery Access Canada, Rogers Group of Funds, Vancouver Film School, Global BC, and the Canadian Media Producers Association – BC Producers Branch.

Every major film festival in Metro Vancouver is supporting the Sundar Prize in some capacity, including the Vancouver International Film Festival, Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Vancouver Queer Film Festival, DOXA, and fellow local Surrey film festivals like KDocsFF and the International South Asian Film Festival. This level of support underscores the festival’s significance and the collaborative spirit of the film community in the region.

The Sundar Prize Film Festival stands out for its impressive array of prizes. Filmmakers will be awarded over 17,000 CAD in cash prizes, distribution opportunities through Moving Images Distribution, 20,000 CAD in equipment rental gift certificates, and free courses at the Vancouver Film School. These prizes not only provide financial support but also offer invaluable resources for filmmakers to advance their projects and careers.

A particularly unique aspect of the festival is the Emerging Filmmaker Residency Prize, offered in partnership with KDocsFF. This prize provides an emerging local filmmaker with a dedicated workspace and equipment at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey to complete their film over a four-month residency with the support of expert faculty and student test audiences. This initiative reflects the festival’s commitment to nurturing new talent and supporting the local filmmaking community.

The Sundar Prize Film Festival is an official project of Sher Vancouver, a registered charity established nearly 16 years ago in 2008. The festival evolved from Sher Vancouver’s social justice film production and screenings in schools program, which has been promoting awareness and dialogue on critical social issues for the last six years.

One of the festival’s core values is its commitment to fair compensation. The Sundar Prize Film Festival prioritizes providing a living wage to its jury, staff, and team members. This commitment to fair pay reflects a broader ethos of respect and equity that permeates all aspects of the festival.

Created by filmmakers for filmmakers and film enthusiasts, the Sundar Prize is deeply filmmaker-centric. It represents an evolution of Sher Vancouver’s mission, focusing on social justice through film. This focus ensures that the festival not only showcases high-quality films but also supports the filmmakers behind them in meaningful ways.

Financial support extends beyond prize winners. Producers benefit from screening fees, and panelists, moderators, and volunteers receive honorariums for their valuable contributions. This comprehensive approach to compensation underscores the festival’s commitment to valuing the work and expertise of all participants.

The festival also prides itself on its diverse and inclusive team. The Sundar Prize Film Festival hires a diverse group of BIPOC, LGBTQ+ individuals, friends and allies, as well as both emerging and experienced filmmakers to run the festival. This diversity enriches the festival, ensuring a wide range of perspectives and experiences are represented.

In summary, the Sundar Prize Film Festival promises to be a landmark event in the Metro Vancouver film scene. With its strong support from the community and the film industry, substantial prizes, unique residency opportunities, and a commitment to fair wages and diversity, the festival is set to make a significant impact. The fact that the festival is taking place in the heart of Surrey is also a reflection of Surrey’s growth as a major city and cosmopolitan and cultural centre in BC.

The Sundar Prize Film Festival is a celebration of film and a testament to the power of community and collaboration in the arts.

Alex Sangha is an award-winning social worker, counsellor, and documentary film producer.  He is the Founder of Sher Vancouver and the Co-Founder of the Sundar Prize Film Festival.  For more information check out

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