Eleven years ago Dinesh Sachdev founded FILMI, a South Asian film festival in Toronto. Tonight, actor Ajay Naidu (Office Space, The West Wing) premiered his poetic and lyrical directorial debut Ashes to an enthusiastic audience.
It shows South Asians in a light we haven't seen in films before, dealing drugs and coping with mental illness. During the Q and A afterwards, Naidu informed the audience that the genesis of the story comes from his own life. He made the film for his sister who lost her life to mental illness when Naidu was young.
It's not a commercial film, but it's a passion project that deserves to find the kind of audience who came tonight. It premieres in Chicago this Saturday.
Good luck, Ajay Naidu and I look forward to seeing what you do next.
FILMI continues through Sunday.