Funny Boy directed by Deepa Mehta
Funny Boy directed by Deepa Mehta

Deepa Mehta’s Funny Boy will represent Canada in the race for Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards.

“Eleven outstanding films were submitted this year, and we are confident that Deepa Mehta’s Funny Boy will appeal to Academy members just as her powerful film Water did in 2007, when it was nominated in this prestigious category,” said Christa Dickenson, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada.

Shot on location and set in Sri Lanka in the 1970s and 80s, Funny Boy explores the awakening of sexual identity by a young boy named Arjie. As political tensions escalate to a boiling point between the minority Tamils and the majority Sinhalese, the boy comes of age in a society and family that doesn’t embrace differences outside of societal norms. The film chronicles Arjie’s struggle to find balance and self-love despite the absence of empathy and understanding.

“It is Brecht who said ‘Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.’ We live in a world with borders, with divisions and differences,” said Deepa Mehta, cowriter-director of Funny Boy. “But now more than ever, we need each other, we need love and compassion and togetherness. Funny Boy to me is about humanity and hope. It’s about holding up a flag of inclusion, in a world tethering towards an abyss of the great divide. David Hamilton and myself thank the jurors across Canada who saw fit to support our film Funny Boy. We thank Telefilm Canada who went the distance for us. CBC and Ontario Creates who gave much needed support and encouragement. And special thanks to dear Shyam Selvadurai for his beautiful novel Funny Boy, and to our brilliant cast and crew. Last but not the least Ava DuVernay and ARRAY for believing in our film. But most of all I would like to thank Canada for standing fast in its embrace of diversity in a world torn by fear of the other.”

Funny Boy will be available to stream on-demand in Canada via CBC Gem following its CBC TV broadcast on December 4. The film will premiere on Netflix outside of Canada on Thursday, December 10.

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