Welcome to Canada: An Interview with the Director Daisy Kaur!

1. What inspired you to make Welcome to Canada?

Growing up my parents always told me their immigration story and journey to Canada from India. Immigration in the late 70s and 80s was drastically different from today's immigration story and I was always intrigued by their experiences. My mom always shares funny instances from her first year here, and I have incorporated those in the film.

2. What are some of the significant challenges in making a film in present-day that is based in an era that is decades ago? 

The challenge in making a film set in the early 80s was to make sure it was as authentic as possible. From locations, costumes, to the vehicles, we had to make sure that all of these reflected the 80s. Even though sourcing all of these was a challenge, it was also fun! We spent a few months researching the early 80s in Canada, and it was helpful to have my parents guide me on what was authentic or not. Furthermore, we had to be very mindful not to include any current day products in the frame when filming and had an assistant to review every scene during production.

3. As a writer and a director, do you find that there are changes that need to be made while on set that depart from the script? How do you deal with adapting to story changes when a script is so close to your heart?

In Welcome to Canada there were very few instances when we had to make changes to the script on set, so I consider myself lucky. However, when it came to post-production, there were many instances when I had to let go and make changes that bettered the fluidity and flow of the film. This was especially difficult at first because I wanted to include everything but soon realized that if I removed some scenes or dialogues that it improved the overall film, and ultimately that was the goal.
4. Your film premieres at IFFSA Toronto this year. Tell us about how you're feeling and why the festival is important to you.

Welcome to Canada has come a long way from its very first edit to the final cut, and I owe this credit to my editor Asis Sethi. She was a formidable force in ensuring the successful completion of the film and I am grateful for the extra push she gave me in the last phases of the editing process. I am happy to see the final film premiere at the festival because it is a testament to everyone's hard work during every stage of this film. I am especially excited for the cast and crew of the production to preview the film for the first time on May 17th at IFFSA. I'm also looking forward to attending with my family and friends and enjoying an evening of film with them all! IFFSA is an important festival because it not only showcases films from around the world but it also encourages local talent to share their films on the same platform. The South Asian narrative from the perspective of a South Asian is especially important in producing authentic films for audiences worldwide, and this is another reason why IFFSA is an important festival.

5. Any advice for Toronto filmmakers who are trying to make it?

I consider myself a filmmaker who is trying to make it too, and that's why the advice I want to share is a reminder for me. I learned a lot from my experience as a Director for Welcome to Canada, and the most important thing I realized was - if your film does not meet your expectations, and even if you feel its not the best project you have produced. Don't give up! Complete it and run all the way to the finish line, no matter what. If you feel you failed, it's ok. We only become stronger from our failures and learn how we can improve as filmmakers. Let every film be a learning experience and work on the areas where you feel you faltered and work harder the next time around. Every film you make is important!

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