Movie Night in Canada: Creative BC's Prem Gill on Desperately Seeking Helen

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      Here at the Movie Night in Canada desk, we're busy counting down the days to National Canadian Film Day on April 20.

      In Vancouver, Vancity Theatre will be holding screenings for the entire day, in addition to National Canadian Film Week from April 16 to 25.

      In our series of recommendations of overlooked, obscure, or forgotten Canadian films from film industry professionals, who would be better to ask for a Canadian film recommendation than Creative BC CEO Prem Gill?

      Creative BC is the agency that promotes the development of B.C.'s creative industries, including music, publishing, interactive media, and motion pictures.  

      Creative BC CEO Prem Gill

      For Movie Night in Canada, Gill chose Montreal filmmaker Eisha Marjara's 1998 National Film Board of Canada documentary Desperately Seeking Helen. (Yes, the title plays off the 1985 comedy-drama Desperately Seeking Susan, starring Madonna.)

      The film tells the story of Marjara's life, following her as she tries to track down Bollywood star Helen (also known as Helen Jairag Richardson) in Mumbai, India.

      Here's what Gill had to say about why she recommends seeing it:

      In the '90s I was attending Desh Pardesh, a South Asian arts festival in Toronto, and went to a screening of Desperately Seeking Helen. Almost twenty years later I have never forgotten this film. She told the story of the tragedy of Air India which took the lives of her mother and sister while she was battling her own life-threatening disease, anorexia. At the same time she was also telling the story of her relationship with her mother and the complexities of growing up as a first-generation Canadian. Her honesty and emotion in storytelling have stuck with me, the themes she tackles are timeless.

      The film is not yet on the NFB website but is coming soon.

      In the meantime, here's a trailer you can check out:

      Gill is supportive of the upcoming Canadian cinematic celebration and here's what she had to say about it:

      "I hope National Canadian Screen Day encourages more people to seek out B.C. and Canadian films," Gill stated. "Our stories shape our communities and supporting talent in telling these stories is essential in building a vibrant creative sector and a critical part of our cultural fabric."

      Stay tuned for more Movie Night in Canada recommendations on the way in the days to come.