Penn Film Society and the Wharton Undergraduate Media & Entertainment Club will host a screening this Tuesday evening of a documentary following the lives of Malaysians "who take the road less traveled."
The screening of "Wanted: Shades of Life" will be held in Fisher-Bennett Hall at 6 p.m. on Nov. 8, followed by a live question and answer session with the filmmaker Sanadtkumar Ganesan, who studied at the Toronto Film School. The documentary series delves into the lives of everyday individuals from Southeast Asia who lead unconventional lives, documenting their phenomenal experiences and successes that have stemmed from it.
The series' first two installments have received several international film awards. The third installment of the series, which will be shown at Penn, is currently in post-production and focuses on the life of a former gangster turned internationally ranked professional chess player. Its protagonist is Genkeswaran Muniyan, who represented Malaysia as a 2013 Southeast Asian Games bronze medalist with his team in chess.
College senior and President of Penn Film Society and Wharton UME Caylen David hopes that the screening will inspire students to pursue a career in filmmaking and understand that being a young filmmaker is possible.
“There may sometimes feel like there are not enough resources for students who want to engage with art at Penn, and artistry may seem like a bit of a pipe dream,” David said. “Sanadt’s success as a student filmmaker shows how you can make very high-quality and impactful stories with a little-to-no budget and limited time and resources.”
David also said that he hopes that the screening of the film provides students at Penn with not only a different perspective on the culture and successes of individuals in Southeast Asia but also provides students with a new perspective on documentary filmmaking.
“Whenever people think of documentaries, they think of true crime or something that’s a little more clear cut,” David said. “I think this premier serves to show how documentary filmmaking is a great way to craft beautiful stories out of information that could otherwise sound static or objective.”
Ganesan said he wants viewers of the documentary to walk away with a renewed sense of hope in humanity.
“I wanted to make this film because it serves to show how people from the most unexpected backgrounds, even with criminal records, can go on to achieve great things in this world as long as someone chooses to have faith in them,” he said.
Through his visit to Penn, Ganesan wants to inspire the students to tell their stories through the medium of film.
“I hope this film screening and subsequent Q&A session gives insight into low-budget independent filmmaking for student filmmakers on how they can handle productions with bare minimal resources and funding that still go on to tell meaningful stories that reflect their identities at the world stage,” Ganesan said.