Gang violence in Indo-Canadian community leads to film
For more than a month, CTV News has been reporting almost daily on gang murders and shootings. For more than a decade, one particular community has been grappling with the issue of gang violence.
There was a time a young Indo-Canadian man was killed every week in Metro Vancouver. That grim reality prompted a young filmmaker to take action -- but he's already feeling the backlash.
Mani Amar says he isn't trying to provoke controversy, but he has pulled back the veil on a controversial topic,
"[There are] a hundred or so deaths linked to the Sikh community alone," he said.
These gang-related deaths have long ignored, he says, by the Sikh community.
"They've always hid behind walls of ignorance and denial. They can't handle the truth," Amar added.
Former gangster Bal Buttar is a central character in the film. By his own admission he and his old crew pulled the trigger dozens of times while wresting control of B.C.'s lucrative drug trade.
But he ended up a blind quadriplegic.
In the film, Amar talks about a culture that prefers sons over daughters, a culture where boys can do no wrong. He doesn't candy-coat much. He even pushes the buttons of religion. His movie poster is a holy Sikh symbol riddled with bullets.
"I get a lot of hate from the community saying I'm trying to bring them down and its not even the truth. All I'm trying to do is bring awareness. My only goal is to make a difference," he said.
Amar says he just wants the community to take a hard look at itself.
So with almost zero community support and three years in the making A Warrior's Religion played at the Rio Theatre today. It was a private screening attended by B.C.'s solicitor general.
"You can't watch this film and not be affected by it," said John van Dongen.
A B.C. appeals court judge once said the Indo-Canadian community has raised a disproportionate number of killers. Amar hopes his film will change that.
For more information, check out the movie's website.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Renu Bakshi.