Filmmaker talks to The Courier about post-graduation success
Capilano University Motion Picture Arts (MOPA) graduate Jasleen Kaur has already started on her way to prosperity. Kaur is currently planning the release of her first major documentary, Maple, which covers the events surrounding the 2011 shooting death of 19-year-old Simon Fraser University student and aspiring actress and model, Maple Batalia.
The idea came to Kaur in April 2016 when she contacted the Batalia family to receive support for the film. She plans to tell Maple’s story from the perspectives of those closest to her, through interviews and b-roll footage.
“Although we are explaining these horrific events… the focus will be to celebrate a life that was so selfless and pure, and really explain who this girl was and why her death shook the community so much,” Kaur explained, emphasizing that the film’s story will be distinct from the way it was reported in the media by highlighting its more personal aspects. “In addition, we hope to raise awareness about the issues that she faced, such as domestic violence and gender inequality.”
Filming for the documentary wrapped up on Jan. 27 when accomplice Gursimar Bedi was sentenced to just 18 months, in addition to the life-long sentencing of killer Gary Dhaliwal in March 2016.
Kaur began to focus on the project after she graduated in June 2016. “I think the reason her story affected me so much was because of how similar we are,” she said. “We share similar aspirations in life, and came from the same background. What happened to her could have happened to me, to my sister, to a friend… Learning about her and her story through her family and friends has been an incredible and extremely emotional experience for me.”
Upon completion of Maple, Kaur plans to submit the documentary to film festivals. She also hopes to screen the film at SFU and use it as a fundraising event to put proceeds towards a scholarship in Batalia’s name.
Aside from working on the Maple documentary, Kaur has been assisting Brent Hodge, the owner of Hodgee Films, with research for his upcoming documentary projects. She has also been working as a producer for cmyk Productions, a Vancouver-based production company specializing in music videos.
Armed with the hopes of venturing into feature filmmaking someday, Kaur and fellow graduate Josh Richardson, who was also the Director of Photography for Maple, have been working to grow cmyk Productions.
Kaur looks back fondly on her days studying MOPA at CapU. “[It] taught me everything I needed to know to be in the film industry and really understand how it works,” she said. “The classes were amazing, and the teachers were extremely knowledgeable, seeing as they had hands-on experience having worked in the industry themselves.”
Since graduation, Kaur has held nothing back when it comes to her career. In fact, she’s taken some pretty big risks. “The most challenging part of the post-grad life was finally making that decision to quit my day job so that I could focus on film projects,” she recalled. “I knew that if I was willing to put the work in, that everything would work out, and it has. I want to create content that inspires, moves people, and promotes change. I still want that and strive to put all of my passion into each project that I take on. I want to be able to live my life doing what I love and I would encourage anyone else who’s trying to decide if their dream is worth jumping into headfirst, to just do it.”
For more information about the documentary “Maple”, visit Facebook.com/mapledocumentary or Instagram.com/mapledocumentary.
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