By Michael Grondin
CALGARY – Calgarian filmmaker Ingrid Vargas is channeling the varying perspectives of immigrant life through her new film, All Saints, an emotionally charged short focused on three Hispanic women that deals with alienation, insecurity, and simultaneously, pride for being an immigrant.
Vargas says, “There are many immigrant stories that we don’t always hear about. My film does come from that place.”
Born in Colombia and raised in Canada from a young age, Vargas feels Canadian film doesn’t depict the varying degrees of diversity that exists in Canada. “I’ve always had a cultural identity crisis,” reveals Vargas. “For a long time, I kind of resented my upbringing a little bit, I had my Canadian citizenship but I knew I wasn’t white, so what am I? I also didn’t feel Spanish enough and it was a very weird place to find myself and to express my culture and identity.”
Vargas also says that simply growing added another layer of anxiety. “There’s a mixture of shame and loss on top of growing up, being a teenager and already having to deal with those feelings.”
However, when she developed an interest and passion for film in school, Vargas found a medium to express those feelings and transform them into something positive. “I noticed that Canadian film, unless it’s French Canadian, isn’t very diverse. It’s complicated because Canadian identity is a tricky subject. We don’t have a specific, set identity. We have so many cultures blending together, but you never really see that on screen.”
All Saints, Vargas’ second funded film, was a way for her to connect with her identity and immerse herself in Calgary’s small but connected film scene. In doing so, she enlisted the help of the local film crew Kino Sum, which includes Guillaume Carlier and Gillian McKercher, along with another local filmmaker, Noah Leach, as cinematographer, Maeve Orlady as art director, Caleigh Kansas for wardrobe and Anna Ortiz for makeup.
“Making this film was definitely a healing process for me. Because I am proud of not necessarily being born here, identifying as both Canadian and Colombian, and having a middle ground,” she says. “In a way the film scene feels like church. You find people with that same passion, and yeah it’s competitive, but a lot of the time its filmmakers helping each other out and it can be very family oriented.”
Vargas’ film is currently in post-production and is expected to be released this September.film, Ingrid Vargas