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PIFF: Bringing Films for Cross-cultural Exchange

Posted on 21 March 2012 by admin

Punjabis form a sizeable portion of the South Asian diaspora in the GTA. Among the community’s many contributions is infusing Canada’s multiculturalism with its own unique identity. The first Punjabi international Film Festival (PIFF) promises to be a welcome addition to that. The four-day extravaganza will showcase the best of feature films, documentaries and short films from around the world on themes of Punjabi culture and identity. There will also be feature concerts, gala events, film parties, seminars, workshops and networking opportunities with government representatives, business leaders, local organizations that support film development, film stars, producers, directors, and members of the media. Generation Next speaks to Sunny Gill, President, PIFF for more details.
We start by asking Mr. Gill the motivation for PIFF in the GTA. “There are about 800,000 Canadians who speak Punjabi language and it is the fourth most spoken language in Canada. Punjabi music and food has taken the GTA by storm in the past few years. Keeping that in mind, we felt the need for some sort of a platform to bridge the gap between the mainstream and the community, and we found that the youth is best suited for that because the youth go out and have parties, they work in together in different professions, go to universities and hence they are very familiar with the mainstream but, when they come back home, they still enjoy their root culture,” he says.
Modeled on the Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF, PIFF will present on all kinds of films- feature films, documentaries and new age media. The focus isn’t on a language so much as it is on the Punjabi culture. Besides the cultural aspect, the festival will also be a meeting point for the industries of the East and the West, hopes Mr. Gill.
PIFF aims to promote young and upcoming stars. Two Buzz events are planned before the actual festival on April 5 and May 1. The latter will launch the world premiere of “Pseudo: Blood of our Own”, a Bollywood/ Hollywood crossover. The film has been produced and directed by Punjabi Indo- Canadians. The festival will have films from all over the world. Says Mr. Gill, “We have received films from California, Calgary, Vancouver, Pakistan, India, and Australia.”

A total of 30 films (including all forms) will be shown at PIFF. “Humber College is going to be the destination for the workshops and technical stuff. Humber College is our institutional partner for this,” informs Mr. Gill.

For movie lovers, PIFF will be the opportunity to come face to face with their favourite stars. Mandy Takhar, who stars in the much-awaited “Mirza: An Untold Story” will be there as will be Babbu Mann and Neeru Bajwa. And there will be local talent too.

Mr. Gill said PIFF is a community-based cross-community effort that offers something to everyone. “It is a cross generational effort, we want the community to come out and support and we would like to do it year over year,” he said.

Event Details:
PIFF will be held from May 18 – May 21, 2012 in Ontario, Canada as part of South Asian Heritage Month celebrations Events have been planned for the cities of Toronto, Brampton and Mississauga culminating at Brampton’s prestigious Rose Theatre.
Visit for more details.

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