Private Project

Gods and Demons in an Immigrant’s Pandemic Dreams

An immigrant professional faces a breakdown in the pandemic lockdown as he deals with his self-imposed isolation and office racism, exclusion and politics. He imagines the figures in a local cemetery sculpture park are gods and demons intent on tormenting him.  

  • Firdaus F Bilimoria
  • Firdaus F Bilimoria
  • John O'Dwyer
  • Firdaus F Bilimoria
    Key Cast
  • Monal Panchasara
  • Scott Jarvie
  • Genres:
    Drama, Fantasy, Magic Realism
  • Country of Origin:
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
Writer Biography - Firdaus F Bilimoria

Firdaus F. Bilimoria is an award-winning screenwriter-filmmaker. Originally from Bombay, previously a New Yorker for many years and now Toronto-based, Firdaus has written and directed seven short films and has a portfolio of feature scripts and TV scripts/ bibles. His short films have screened in film festivals internationally and won awards. His feature scripts have been short-listed for the 2015 Sundance Screenwriters Program, and advanced to Finalist/Semi-Finalist in many recognized screenwriting competitions including Bluecat, ScreenCraft Horror, Oaxaca FF and FilmQuest FF. Firdaus is also a published author and poet. Firdaus was selected for the 2012 ReelWorld Emerging 20 (E20) Program.

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Writer Statement

Thematic Premise The film uses magic realism to explore an immigrant’s pandemic experience as he deals with his self-imposed isolation and office racism, exclusion and politics that he faces. The film also explores the shifting race dynamics in Toronto’s increasingly multi-cultural society. This is shown through Darius’ imaginary conversations with his ex-lover Devi, his fascination with the sculptures of trolls and demons in a local cemetery, and the blurring of his daily real life and interactions with the imaginary world where the real-life characters assume the mythological forms and archetypes.
Dialogue and the Characters The dialogue will reflect the characters’ backgrounds, the worlds in which they interact, and the societal strata they belong to. Darius’ character will reflect his professional background, and his interactions with the professional characters will be in corporate speak, while the dialogue cadence with the other characters will reflect their societal and origin backgrounds. Also the real-life characters in Darius’ dream world will reflect their mythological archetypes and metaphorical forms in the cemetery sculpture garden.
Visual Treatment Natural lighting will be used for the exterior scenes; interior lighting will become shadowy to accentuate the scenes’ menace and characters’ subtleties. The lighting in the cemetery sculpture garden “trial” dream scene with mythological characters will employ a more surrealistic tone, with the use of saturated colors and shadows. The camera shots will be a combination of wide shots with medium shots and close-ups. For the exterior scenes, the wide shots and pans will capture the urban settings in muted tones to capture the sombre mood, and the natural landscape of city trails will be shot in vivid colors to reflect the contrast with the city streets. Medium shots will be used to capture the characters’ conflict; close-ups will be used to show the characters’ internal tension and non-verbal nuances. For the office interactions with the office personnel over zoom calls, this will be captured on computer screen.
Sound and Music The sound treatment will integrate the dialogue with ambient sounds and the music track. The ambient sounds will include the actors’ physical movements and exhalations, as well as the ambience of locations, both in real-life and in Darius’ dream world, where the scenes take place: zoom calls, the hushed whispers of empty streets, natural sounds in city trails, and howling winds and church bells ringing in the cemetery sculpture garden.
The music score will be a fusion of western, gothic, and Indian musical forms. The western and gothic forms will predominate in present-day and the dream world scenes. The Indian music will be layered into a fusion depending on the scene, e.g. Alaap rag will be incorporated in scenes involving the Devi character, the scenes of Darius walking empty city streets, and also the final dream sequence; and fast-paced table will be used to accentuate the physical conflict and danger with the Crazey character. This form of fusion music will evoke the sensibility of Darius and his angst and will emphasize this vibrant collision of intersecting stories. Local musician groups specializing in this fusion form have been identified.
Setting - Toronto as a Character Toronto becomes a character in itself in the story with its diverse neighbourhoods and city trails around which the characters’ stories revolve. The locations will include: Darius’ apartment and building; streets and neighbourhoods the city; various nature trails in the City, and the Cemetery Sculpture Garden.