Toronto

Toronto neighbourhoods take starring role in local film

By  | 

CityPlace’s Dan Leckie Way is featured heavily in a local film, premiering right here in Toronto on Nov. 28.

Filmmaker Curt Jaimungal’s first feature film stars the city of Toronto.

Yes, the city is the main character of “I’m Okay.”

curt06

“It’s a love letter to Toronto,” Jaimungal explains. “I just love Toronto and I don’t know why. It’s completely irrational.”

“I like to go on long walks without my cell phone so I’m not Twittering, even though I’m not on Twitter,” he laughs.

“When I was eight, my brother was studying at the University of Toronto and he took me downtown. Just seeing the lights was amazing back then. Even now, I walk around downtown and I am amazed.  There are so many wicked things in the city. I haven’t even explored all of Toronto and yet seen so many cool things. It inspired me in the sense — I’d take long walks and write things down.”

That’s evident in “I’m Okay,” where several neighbourhoods form the movie’s backdrop.

Ninety percent of the film takes place in downtown Toronto, with the neighbourhoods of CityPlace, Liberty Village, Fort York and Spadina-Annex all making appearances.

“The backgrounds are interwoven into the storyline,” Jaimungal explains. “You’ll see random alleyways of Kensington, for example.”

curt05

Independent shop owners in the neighbourhoods of Little Italy and Queen West even gave Jaimungal locations to film in for free because they loved what the film was about.

“They shut down their stores for free. And a Bengali restaurant let us film five times even when they had customers,” Jaimungal exclaimed.

Jaimungal says that while other filmmakers leave Toronto for Los Angeles or New York City, he stays in Toronto because of his love for the city and inspiration coming from its neighbourhoods.

Jaimungal’s company, Indie Film TO, works as a consultancy where he coaches filmmakers on how to treat their films like start-ups.

“Start-ups have a different methodology of creating something,” he explains. “A regular person creates for a year and goes to market, whereas a start-up makes something really fast, and then makes another version and applies a method to make something go viral.”

He applies the same principles to film and it’s been working. He recently coached award-winning filmmaker Jay Rao who lives in Toronto’s CityPlace.

Jaimungal’s film “I’m Okay” is an “anti-romantic comedy” where the audience witnesses the depressing end of a relationship.

“It’s a dramedy where the character going through the break-up asks the question “what am I doing?”

The film premieres for free on Nov. 28 at University of Toronto’s Innis College.

Diana Pereira

Diana Pereira is a journalist, a university journalism teacher, a world traveller, a fair-weather kayaker, and a frequent bruncher. She's working on her mermaid status, travelling to as many countries as she can that include a body of water and when she's home in Toronto, you can find her in a kayak on Lake Ontario.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *