VENUS tells the tale of Sid (Debargo Sanyal), a South Asian transitioning woman whose life is turned upside down when Ralph (Jamie Mayers), the “white” 14 year-old biological son she never knew she had, shows up unexpectedly at her door.  Shot in Montreal, the upbeat film also deals with the hardship of transition and how it affects family and friends. VENUS has won numerous awards on the international film circuit, including most recently two awards at the 2018 Kiel Transgender Film Festival in Germany for Best Trans Performance (Debargo Sanyal) and Best Actor non-trans role (Jamie Mayers), as well as Best Narrative Feature at the 2018 Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose.

Sid is under pressure to marry a nice Indian girl and raise a family. His East Indian mother (Vancouver’s Zeena Daruwalla) yearns to have grandchildren. Her dreams are about to come true, but not in the way she ever imagined. When Sid comes out as a woman, a 14 year old boy named Ralph shows up at her door announcing that Sid is his parent. Although surprised to discover that his biological dad is now a woman, Ralph thinks having a transgender parent is pretty cool. But he hasn’t told his mother and stepfather that he’s tracked down his biological father. And then there is Sid’s boyfriend Daniel (Pierre Yves Cardinal), who has yet to tell his family of his relationship with Sid. Daniel is nowhere near ready to accept Ralph as a stepson and complicate his life further.  Sid’s coming out creates a snowball effect that forces everyone out of the closet.

VENUS is written and directed by Montreal based Eisha Marjara who first drew attention with the witty and satirical The Incredible Shrinking Woman. But it was her feature NFB docudrama. Desperately Seeking Helen (2000), described as “one of the most auspicious film debuts on the Canadian scene,” that established her as a ground breaking filmmaker. Her German Canadian The Tourist (2006) was nominated as best short at the Female Eye Film Festival and her transgender drama House For Sale (2012) received multiple awards at various festivals.

VENUS is Marjara’s first fiction feature and her second film featuring a transgender subject, and boasts an international cast of diverse talent from English and French Canada, the US, UK, and New Zealand: Debargo Sanyal, Jamie Mayers, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Zena Daruwalla, Gordon Warnecke, Amber Goldfarb, Peter Miller, Judy Virago, and CT Thorne.

The film’s other distinctions include the EDA AWFJ Award for best female-directed feature film at the Whistler Film Festival and  the  Audience Award for Best Feature film at Reelout LGBT Film Festival. In addition, it was selected for Telefilm’s Canada Now series which showcases top Canadian films of the year in the US and the UK.

VENUS is produced by Joe Balass for Compass Productions, with Kevin Tierney as Executive Producer.

Opening in Toronto ( Cineplex, Yonge & Dundas) and Vancouver (Vancity) on May 18, with more cities to follow.

 

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About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.