Film

Hyphen to the Motherland - Part II (Kerala, Mumbai, Goa)

I'm slowly digesting my recent trip to India and it's incredible impact on me. Until I can put words to my emotions, here are some photos from my time with my mom as we traveled through Kerala, Mumbai and Goa!

Hyphen to the Motherland - Part I

The first leg of this trip is done! I've been traveling around Britain with my mum for the past 2 weeks and I even managed to squeeze in a weekend in Antwerp! Tomorrow we are off to India and I can hardly wait. Travel jitters galore; ready for a long journey to Kochi where we will be visiting the south west of India for the next 3 weeks.

Here is a look at the first part of this trip.

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Trafalgar Square  

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Trencrom View  

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Warrior ladies in Penzance  

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Mousehole

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Mum on the hill

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Pot head

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Mead! 

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Cornish landscape  

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Cornish landscape  

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Sunny London stroll  

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Mum at Holland Park

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London view from the Sky Garden

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Sky Garden

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Sky Garden

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Brixton Village

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Brixton Village  

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Brixton lunch in a container  

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Container hub in Brixton  

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We gonna rock down to Electric Avenue and then we'll take it higher

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The Saint-Catherine Beguinage in Antwerp

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 The Saint-Catherine Beguinage in Antwerp

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 The Saint-Catherine Beguinage in Antwerp

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The MAS museum  

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Belgian, waffle

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In front of the MAS

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Biking by City Hall

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Biking under the Scheldt

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Biking selfie  

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Park on the Left Bank

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View from the Left Bank

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Linkeroever

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Frites! 

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Antwerp golden hour

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Sunset on Antwerp

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Doel

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Graffiti in Doel

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Blending in with the graffiti  

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Doel

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Doel

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Doel

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Tower Bridge in the distance

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London sunset

Hyphen Next Steps: Self-Care and a Trip to the Motherland

I've been home from the Hyphen Roadtrip for about 2 months now. I've unpacked, decluttered, caught up with friends and family and tried to settle back into my routine. But my mind and my heart are still wandering. Most of you who have seen me since my return know I haven't been myself, and our conversations have been heavier; because I feel heavier.  

I've been struggling with readjusting to how life was before I left, but most of all, I'm struggling with the work I have to do to continue producing Hyphen. Saying that the Hyphen Roadtrip was life-changing feels like an understatement. Most of you have asked me if I got what I needed from the trip and the interviews, and I can definitely say that I did; and then some. I am so grateful for the people who entrusted me with their stories. I hold your truths of trauma, of questioning, of hurt and discrimination in my heart. I am inspired by all of you and can't wait to share our stories. I'm still collecting stories and despite still feeling exhausted from the trip, my drive and love for this project has not diminished at all. I have learnt so much from our conversations and I'm thrilled to be able to keep in touch through the wonders of the Internet, because I miss you all!

The rawness I am feeling comes from all the unearthing I did on this trip, discovering truths about this country and myself that I had kept at arm's-length until now. I know the importance of the work I am doing and that this is so much bigger than me. But in order to do this, I need to take a break and make sure I am strong enough for this fight. The general overwhelmingness I've been feeling has been difficult to manage. I've been taking some time to be alone, to stay grounded and be mindful. I started counselling which has helped me voice my emotions, find ways to cope with my anxiety and direct my energy in a more positive way. I'm very thankful for my friends who have been available throughout this whole journey with energy healing so I can feel more centred and not so all over the map.

I think it is important for me to acknowledge this part of the process and talk about self-care. I want to be open about what goes into making impactful art and driving change. I want to support those who have not had a voice, but also recognize that I need support in this too. Thank you to those who have let me lean on them and helped me process. 


So. I'm taking a break. But I am also planning the very exciting next step for the film: I'm going to India, for the very first time. This January, my mother and I will be taking a trip back to the motherland. We will be visiting the Warrior home and the place where my mother spent her childhood. I am very thankful that I get to experience this with my mum and have a chance to learn more about her history and her life. I will be gathering more content while traveling, so I'm also gearing up for another intense adventure. My mother and I will be spending time with family and friends in the UK before setting off for India, and I will be traveling to Beijing after for a long overdue visit with this lovely lady.

Until then, I'll be taking it easy and remember that I get to escape the winter for a few months. Stay warm, friends!   

A Long Overdue Update

Despite my radio silence over these past few months, I can assure you that Hyphen is still very much happening. After a lot of planning and talking, I am thrilled to see this project finally coming to fruition! 

2016 started out with a bang: 2 public appearances for Hyphen that helped get my documentary out in the community and give me the confidence to move forward. 

On February 2nd, I stood in front of a full room at Arts Court during a Soup Ottawa event, pitching to an eager audience for help in funding part of my project. Soup Ottawa is a micro-grant event where audience members pay $10, get a bowl of soup and a vote. They listen to 6 different pitches and get to vote for the local project they would like to fund. 

Despite not walking away with the prize, I felt an intense boost of confidence. I met several people who felt very strongly about the potential of my film and my vision as a filmmaker. I felt like I was giving a voice to those who had never been heard. 

The next week, I got to see the first part of Hyphen play alongside other local productions as part of SAW Video's RESOLUTIONS 2016. Seeing my film at the Bytowne Cinema was something very special. I can't wait to see the finished product on the big screen one day!

Those next few weeks were the most productive I have ever been. I can tell you now, I am an expert at cold-emailing. I revisited art projects, academic papers and articles that I had saved or published on hyphennation.ca and got in contact with their respective authors and producers. I was amazed by the sheer kindness of people who are so willing to help out a stranger. I feel like I've just tapped into a strong community of people who are so passionate about the subject of multiracial identity and who want to see this project come to life.

So far, I have 4 confirmed subjects outside of myself who live all around the country. Through our discussions, I have really started to shape the vision of what Hyphen will be. It will be a film about a journey. This summer (now that I've said it, I guess it's real...!) I will drive across Canada, documenting my journey of meeting these multiracial individuals. Hyphen will paint a new portrait of our country, one that is filled with colour, experience and fluid concepts of identity. 

Keep an eye for more details about the film and the participants.

I want to take a moment to thank you all again for your support and your patience. This is happening!

 

 

 

Hyphen in Montreal (and England)

Another step forward: I just completed a second full day of shooting for Hyphen. Once again accompanied by Travis Boisvenue, I drove to Montreal over the weekend to visit my dad and my old university stomping grounds.

We spent some time at my father's condo, making lunch and enjoying a hot cup of coffee before venturing out in the cold. We took a (short) walk along the water where my dad lives.

We then drove to the Loyola Campus of Concordia University, where I completed my BA in Communication Studies and lived on campus during my first year of studies. 

As a little bonus, I flew to England a few weeks ago and brought my camera along. Sadly, my grandmother passed away in December, so my mother and I joined our little family in Hayling Island for a beautiful ceremony. We listened to some of my grandmother's favourite songs, including "Smile" sung by Nat King Cole and said our goodbyes. It was a wonderful short visit where I got to spend time with my family, something I rarely get to do. I mostly shot footage around my aunt's cottage near Penzance in Cornwall and managed to get some clear footage of London during takeoff. 

I have a few more things to gather, but I'll be ready to start editing my portion of Hyphen soon! I'll have a chance to get comfortable with the look and feel of the film before approaching potential interviewees. How exciting! 

Hyphen in Gatineau

I have been busy planning the production of my newest film project: Hyphen, a documentary about cultural identity within multiracial families in Canada. Yesterday was a pretty important day: it was my very first shooting day!

My goal for this documentary is to create a collection of short stories featuring multiracial individuals; one of those individuals is me. I thought it was necessary for me to go through the interviewing and filming process before I could start including other stories. My close and talented friend Travis Boisvenue has kindly accepted to film my section of the documentary, as I didn't think using a selfie stick would have quite the same impact. So I brought him to my hometown of Gatineau for the day. We visited my childhood home where my mother still lives, and we cooked a delicious curry together.

Then we ventured around my neighbourhood, visiting my elementary school and local hang out spots. 

We also drove through downtown Gatineau and ended up at my high school in Hull. 

We ended the day in my current apartment in Chinatown, to have coffee with my roommate. 

It was definitely a strange day. I was thrilled to finally see my project become a reality, but being in front of the camera all day was something I wasn't so comfortable with. It really made me realize how vulnerable you are in these situations, and I hope to make my subjects feel at ease, like Travis was able to do for my mother and I.

 It was also a strange feeling to visit places I hadn't seen in years, bringing back the good and bad memories from those times in my life. But that's exactly what I'm looking for from this project. So I'm keeping the momentum of yesterday and planning to start my interview. I am only recording the audio from the interviews, to have more space to be creative with the visuals. I'm looking forward to what will come from my first interview: a conversation between my mother and I. 

I plan to keep updating you all on the process I take for this documentary, as I want this project to be open and flexible. Feel free to give me any feedback or thoughts you may have, I'd love to hear your ideas!

I’m Making a Documentary, it’s Called Hyphen

Since leaving my full time job a few months ago, I've been busy cooking up my next big project. I had a few ideas up my sleeve, but I needed some time to consider my options. I left for my cross-country roadtrip, hoping the adventure would bring me the inspiration I needed to come home ready to work. And I was right! As I traveled through the country, meeting strangers and seeing some incredible sights, it hit me. The Canadian story has always intrigued me, and I wanted to share my particular point of view. As a multiracial person, my connection to the Canadian identity has shifted and evolved throughout my life. There was something about driving from one end of the country to the other that made Canada seem much more approachable than ever. It deconstructed a lot of the conceptions I had and I was able to discover a new connection to our country. But I still wanted to tell the Canadian story from my own perspective: the hyphenated identity, and I knew I wasn't the only one with a story to tell.

Once I got home, I started planning my first independent production: Hyphen. My plan is to produce a collection of short stories surrounding the multiracial experience. I want Hyphen to be a space where multiracial individuals can speak about their personal journeys, and find a sense of community within this experience.

As a first step in the project, I want to dig deeper into my own experience. I don’t think I can ask others to question their identity before I take the time to question my own. I have recently started production of the first short story: my own. I've had fun going through all the old home videos my mum took throughout my childhood, amazed at the things I observed. These clips will be an integral part of my short story, along with additional footage of my family and myself today.

I wanted to share a few home video clips with you, to give you an idea of my direction. This kid was pretty damn cute, and even I couldn't help saying "aw".

Go West, Young Women

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Last month, my good friend Melissa and I went on a cross-country adventure. She was moving to BC, I wanted to accompany her, and we both really like the movie Thelma and Louise. So we set off, leaving from Ottawa and arriving in Vancouver 2 weeks later. We were equipped with a tent, 3 iPods full of music and podcasts, a huge thermos for coffee and high spirits. I brought my trusty camera along on the trip, not really knowing what I intended to do with the footage. Once I came back and went through the weeks of footage I had, I discovered a story. A story of a friendship growing and changing with the landscape. It's hard to explain what makes a great friendship, and I'm lucky enough to have more than one. Through the crazy amazing adventure we had, I have come to realize how much this person means to me. So this short film is dedicated to you, Melissa, my road warrior partner in crime.


And here are some photos I managed to snap while I wasn't filming!


Diving In

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So. Big changes for this 24-year-old. I just finished my last week as a producer at MediaStyle. Ian hired me right after finishing my undergrad, and I've been working with him and our evolving team for almost 3 years. It was the first time I had a desk and computer, business cards and a phone extension. But it was also the first place I got to put my skills in practice. From the first video I produced to the last, I can't believe how much I learnt. Having the space and support to try new things, I definitely feel like I'm leaving with a suitcase filled with knowledge.

A few months ago, I decided to take the plunge and commit to my creative projects. With the support of my family, friends and co-workers, I am ready to start a new chapter in my life. But it wouldn't be right to start before taking in an adventure! My lovely friend Melissa and I are departing next week for a cross-Canada roadtrip. I will be joining her on her trip out west, where she will be staying for the next little while. I then fly back to Ottawa, refreshed and inspired, ready to create. Filmmaking has been my passion for years now, and I can't wait to dive back in. I have a few ideas kicking around in my head, fiction and not. I'm also looking forward to collaborating with some friends on projects I really believe in.

It wasn't an easy decision to make, and I admit I'm scared at times. But in the end, I know having the time to focus on these projects will make me happy. And I can't thank you all enough. The support and confidence you've given me through the last few months has been overwhelmingly wonderful.

So stay tuned, I'll be documenting the trip, getting ready for the real deal.

Winning Awards is Fun

What more could a filmmaker want them to have recognition for the work you do? Well, possibly a million dollars, some new lenses and a RED camera, but that's beside the point. This week, I got the chance to live a little moment of glory, and I am forever grateful. My short film "Dreaming in Colour" was not only showcased at this year's 43rd Annual World Film Festival in Montreal, but it won the award for Best Experimental Film in the Student Film Festival. Words cannot express my excitement when I got this news! And having the chance to attend the press conference with the judges and other students was wonderful. Meeting so many great filmmakers in the making certainly re-lit my passion for film. That script that's been sitting on desktop for years might just get a second chance. Seems I now have the confidence to pull it off! So thank you to everyone who inspired this film, and hopefully this is only the beginning of my filmmaking career. You can watch "Dreaming in Colour" right here.