Correction: A previous version of this article stated the documentary would be released in 2023. It is now corrected that the documentary is expected to release in 2024 or 2025. The Runner regrets the error.
The film will be documented in real time and follow immigrants who will be settling into the Metro Vancouver region. The goal of the film is to show the “emotional challenges, motivation, and outcomes of Indians immigrating to Canada.”
Alex Sangha, founder of Sher Vancouver and producer for the film, says the purpose of I, Migrant is to “humanize the story of immigrants.” Due to the birth lottery and other factors, some people are born into countries with lower standards of living, Sangha says.
“Canada is a land of immigrants, with the exception of the Indigenous Peoples. Canada really is a land of immigrants, and they contribute a lot to our country,” he says
Sangha says when the media shows South Asians, they often present them as dangerous and part of gangs. When they mention immigrants in general it’s often in correlation with violence, and Sangha wants people to know that immigrants are not like that and are contributing citizens.
“We want to share that narrative, and we want to give hope and inspire people [to know] that they can come to this country and succeed and be successful and have role models,” he says.
While this film will show that living in Canada as an immigrant is possible, the film will also reveal the realities of immigrating to the country. For example, international students pay high tuition fees and are limited to 20-hours per week for work while being a full-time student.
Sangha says some issues international students face are poor work conditions where their employer pays them less than minimum wage, exploitation at work in exchange for a faster immigration process due to fear of being deported, and some students cannot report the issue to the authorities.
“I, Migrant is going to share the strength and struggle of immigrants, from their journey from different parts of India to Canada,” Sangha says.
Since this story is going to be filmed as the events go on, Sangha says they don’t know how exactly it will unfold. Three people have been casted for the film. Harpreet, 26, from Punjab, India and currently resides in Surrey; Deb, 31, who grew up in Mumbai, India, and lives in Vancouver and Toronto; and Mansel, 30, who currently lives in Mumbai.
Sangha says a misconception of immigrating from India to Canada is that once a person arrives, they begin working and are able to send a lot of money home. However, that is not the case.
Certain educational credentials from other countries are not recognized in Canada, which restricts doctors, teachers, and lawyers from doing a job they had in their home country.
“A lot of doctors who were in India are working here as Uber drivers, or they’re delivering Skip the Dishes, or they’re working on farms making pennies for the hour,” Sangha says.
He says most of the people who work on farms in Canada are immigrants. They work in a seasonal capacity and are not protected like other workers are.
“There’s a lot of emotional, psychological, economic, and exploitative things that happen to immigrants when they come to this country. It’s important to share their story because immigrants have no one to speak for them,” Sangha says.
“We want to create a system that can provide opportunities for everyone so that they can reach their potential in this country. So that they can all be successful.”
The documentary is expected to be released in 2024 or 2025.