Though emerging filmmaker Ian Harnarine’s work has garnered the media’s attention before, nothing could prepare him for the moment when his name was announced and he stepped on stage to receive his first Genie Award last week.
His first short film, Doubles with Slight Pepper, won the award for Best Live Action Short at the 32nd annual show which is presented by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.
“This was completely unexpected because we were up against some incredible films by much more established and talented filmmakers,” said Harnarine, who developed the film as an alumnus of the Caribbean Tales Incubator program in 2010. “This is testimony to the talent of the Trinidad & Tobago actors and the entire crew involved in the production.”
Harnarine and Ryan Silbert co-produced the 16-minute film that tells the story of a street food vendor in Trinidad & Tobago struggling to reconcile his relationship with his estranged father, who has just returned from Canada and may die without his help.
Poetic dialogue and compelling characters shape the story of this contemporary immigrant experience.
Harnarine is expanding the short film and adapting David Chariandy’s award-winning fiction, Soucouyant, which is in its fourth printing. Harnarine and fellow New-York-based screenwriter Jon Malkeil – who recently co-wrote with Spike Lee the adaptation of physicist Ronald Mallett’s memoir, Time Traveler, which is currently in development as a feature film – purchased the film option to the book.
A Newtonbrook Secondary School graduate, Harnarine regularly attended the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) before moving to Chicago to complete a Master’s degree in nuclear physics to add to the undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy he earned at York University.
Bored with probing the fundamental building blocks of the universe, Harnarine pursued film at New York University where he’s a faculty member in both the Graduate Film School and Physics departments.
By RON FANFAIR