Grandparents Film Festival launches today at Edmonds Community Centre in Burnaby

Free screenings will be presented on the third Sunday of every month

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      A director of the Edmonds Seniors Society, Shiraz Ramji, has long dreamed of showing films that strengthen the bonds between grandparents and grandchildren.

      Today, he will finally get his wish with the launch of the Grandparents Film Festival. 

      It will take place for free every third Sunday of the month from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Edmonds Community Centre.

      'We want to start with grandparents and grandchildren having about five minutes to talk about what they've learned from each other," Ramji told the Georgia Straight.  

      The first film that's being screened is Mieko Ouchi and Craig Anderi's 1996 documentary, Shepherd's Pie and Sushi.

      It resulted from Ouchi's research into the life of her Japanese immigrant grandfather. 

      Ramji has found films from around this world on the theme of grandchildren, grandparents, and elders, which will be shown over the year.

      "There are six million grandparents in Canada," he said. "There are 6,000 Canadians who are 100-plus as well. Everybody is aging."

      The lighthearted Tanzanian-born retired university teacher has long been an advocate for gender justice and global peace.

      He also promotes "global fruit security", which involves planting a single fruit tree for ever child born and two fruit trees for every grandchild born. 

      "I'm trying to promote grandparent-grandchildren friendship and get stories of grandparents more visible," he says.

      When he was teaching mathematics courses in Dar es Salaam, he showed films to students on the side. He moved to Canada in 1994 and volunteers with various festivals in Vancouver.