PHOTO BY HOLLY CROOKS
COPYRIGHT SNOWGLOBE FILMS INC.
Opening at the Cumberland theatre in Toronto on February 24 is SNOW, a feature drama about the life of a Sri Lankan immigrant in Canada.
Directed, written and produced by Rohan Fernando, the film follows Parvati, a woman who has lost everything, including her immediate family, in the 2004 tsunami.
Forced to relocate to Halifax, she is taken in by distant relatives she has never met and struggles with life in a foreign culture.
Still mourning the loss of her family and growing increasingly uncomfortable with her new home life, she befriends a homeless musician with whom she travels to Cape Breton.
Kalista Zackhariyas, who stars as Parvarti, told thedailyplanet.com that she drew from her own Sri-Lankan Canadian background in preparing for the role.
“I understand what our culture is like, how women in our culture are raised,” said Zackhariyas. “She’s a woman who has immigrated to Canada, she’s coping with grief and there’s no one to make decisions for her.”
Fernando, an award winning documentary filmmaker, provided his actors with very little script and encouraged them to base their characters on their own individual traits and experiences.
“When I initially auditioned, I didn’t know a lot about the character but she looked like a challenge from the beginning because of the little dialogue and what he wanted me to convey,” said Zackhariyas.
“After I landed the role I fell in love with the character, there’s a lot of humility in her and a lot of growth in her and though she comes across as passive, there’s a lot of strength.”
The film has spent the last year on the festival circuit where it premiered at Cinequest, opened at Reelworld, and won “Best Music” at The Atlantic Film Festival.
Zackhariyas, whose own performance background includes dance, theatre and television, said the experience of making the film has inspired her to focus on film acting.
“I think I’ll try every aspect of performing just to know what it’s like and where I’m happy,“ she said. “This role really changed my perspective on where I really want to focus my energy.”