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Jessi Thind’s LIONS OF THE SEA Wins Best Script At Calcutta International Film Festival

“I’ve been working on this project for twenty years and it’s great that world-wide audiences are suddenly recognizing the importance of the Komagata Maru event and the multiple perspectives I have used to tell the story in the film,” said Jessi Thind, the film’s writer, when he found out about the award. “I am amazed and delighted especially at the unbelievable response from producers and distributors interested in the emotional impact of the story.” Thind and LINK editor and well known filmmaker R. Paul Dhillon have a long history together as Thind co-wrote the script for Dhillon’s debut feature film Sweet Amerika starring Gulshan Grover.

CALCUTTA – Just in time for film festival season, the Canadian film “Lions of the Sea” written by Jessi Thind based on his novel of the same name, published in 1998, has picked up a prestigious Indian honour, winning Best Feature Script at the Calcutta International Film Festival.

Komagata-Maru-Film-Salman-Khan3″I’ve been working on this project for twenty years and it’s great that world-wide audiences are suddenly recognizing the importance of the Komagata Maru event and the multiple perspectives I have used to tell the story in the film,” said Jessi Thind, the film’s writer, when he found out about the award. “I am amazed and delighted especially at the unbelievable response from producers and distributors interested in the emotional impact of the story.”

“Lions of the Sea” began pre-production in 2003, but was stalled due to production set-backs. Thind has stated he had to wait to resume the adaptation of his novel in 2010 as he considered several co-production deals. “There has been interest from several production companies and now these awards are opening doors and making things happen fast.”

Thind and LINK editor and well known filmmaker R. Paul Dhillon have a long history together as Thind co-wrote the script for Dhillon’s debut feature film Sweet Amerika starring Gulshan Grover.

“Lions of the Sea” is set in 1914, against the backdrop of World War One, and tells the story of Edward Bird, the lawyer who represented the passengers of the Komagata Maru as well as Munshi Singh, the passenger used as a test case for the passengers.

‘Lions of the Sea’ has taken over 20 awards in the festival circuit including Best Feature Script at the TMC London Film Festival, Feel the Reel, the Tribal Film Festival, Views of the World Film Festival, and the Calcutta Film Festival. ‘Lions of the Sea’ has also been a finalist at the Toronto Nollywood Film Festival, the LA Film Festival, the California Film Festival and the Frame by Sound Film Festival. It is currently in consideration at a dozen other festivals including Cannes.

“Lions of the Sea is an absolutely incredible work of art,” Taran Singh, an editor and film reviewer, said. “It is a story that illustrates that in spite of having different skin tones, having different beliefs, or coming from different cultural backgrounds, there are more things in common to focus on than there are differences.”

Many give lip-service to the fact that the Nazis were evil and that doors should have been opened for the Jewish refugees aboard the St. Louis,” Sam Khan, a film distributor and judge at the Nalanda Film Festival said. “But will those same people make the right choice, the compassionate choice, the human choice when refugees come knocking at their door and history is suddenly in their hands? That is the important and powerful question raised by ‘Lions of the Sea’ the one I found so urgent and compelling.”

“I can say without a doubt that Thind managed to take an already good story with high movie potential and bring it few steps further,” Antonio Rozich, writer and film critic, reviewed in Cult Critic magazine. “Instead of being just another mediocre presentation of something that happened, Thind added emotions and opinions that go far beyond just the story of the Komagata Maru. Thind added a message which doesn’t feel like it was put there by force, nor does it feel like a cliché. It’s simply a message worth spreading amongst people.”

This week represents something of an international tour for the writer and Lions of the Sea is still gathering awards. “It’s a lot of work,” Thind said with a smile. “But I don’t think of it. I’m just happy the Komagata Maru is getting the attention of world-wide audiences.”

Thind recently allowed the title of his novel to be used by several historical exhibits in Canada and India, and is working on a pilot television series also based on his novel.

 

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