ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Vinay Giridhar and Sidartha Murjani head the Sundar Prize Film Festival

By VFS, on May 1, 2024

We are excited to highlight two VFS alumni who are Senior members of the Sundar Prize Film Festival, running June 15-16 this year. VFS Classical Animation alum Vinay Giridhar is the Co-Founder of Sundar Prize, while Acting for Film & Television alum Sidartha Murjani is the festival’s Executive Director and Senior Programmer.

In case you aren’t familiar with this film festival, Sundar Prize aims to showcase films that raise awareness about social causes and issues. They celebrate films that effectively tell powerful stories and promote social justice. There are many prizes for winners of this festival (besides bragging rights), including cash prizes for a range of categories, distribution offers, equipment rental gift cards, and even free VFS CONNECT courses!

Besides being the Co-Founder of Sundar Prize, Vinay works as a graphic and web designer, and has worked multiple roles in film production including animating, editing, and directing. His feature documentary Emergence: Out of the Shadows features people from conservative South Asian families struggling to be accepted in their community for their sexuality. This doc has garnered huge success, being screened at film festivals locally and worldwide.

Sidartha has also worked in film as an actor, writer, and director. He’s written and directed over 8 short films including the award-winning comedy short Gratitude, and the sci-fi/drama Chaturanga. Each of his shorts were celebrated at Canadian Screen Award Qualifying Film Festivals, with some even winning awards for “Best Short Film” and “Best Screenplay.” He’s currently working on his upcoming film Tarian Tresna (Dance of Love), a captivating dance film shot in his native home of Bali, Indonesia.

Read more about our two alum below!

VFS Classical Animation alum Vinay Giridhar created the award-winning documentary Emergence: Out of the Shadows.

Vinay Giridhar (he/him) is a Visual Artist, Animator, and Documentary Filmmaker. An alum of Vancouver Film School's Classical Animation Program, his award-winning documentary feature, Emergence: Out of the Shadows, was showcased at over 50 film festivals around the world, including Academy Award, BAFTA, and Canadian Screen Award qualifying festivals, as well as broadcast on Knowledge Network, TVO, and OUTtv. The film also enjoyed over 50 community screenings locally including at UBC, SFU, UFV, KPU, and Douglas College.

VFS Acting for Film & Television alum Sidartha Murjani wrote and directed the award-winning comedy short Gratitude.

Sidartha Murjani's journey into the world of filmmaking commenced with distinction, securing a scholarship to the esteemed Vancouver Film School. With a portfolio boasting 19 acting credits, ranging from the heartwarming Rom/Com The Specials (2015) to the uproarious comedy Coffee at Laundromat (2016), for which he received a Best Supporting Actor nomination on the festival circuit.

Beyond the silver screen, Sidartha wears multiple hats, serving as the Executive Director and Senior Programmer at the Sundar Prize Film Festival, while simultaneously steering the ship as the Director of Feature Programming at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival, cementing his pivotal role in shaping the contemporary cinematic landscape with finesse.

If you’re passionate about social justice, want to support upcoming filmmakers, or are just in the mood for some great films, get your ticket to the Sundar Prize Film Festival now!


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