THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FOUR)
It is no easy thing, being an independent Canadian filmmaker. For his debut featureKhoya, writer-director Sami Khan spent close to seven years developing the project, scrounging up resources where he could, surviving a last-minute casting change and even a religious riot during shooting. For all his trouble, Khoya will enjoy a run at the tiny Carlton Cinema in Toronto, more than likely overshadowed by releases both large and small, before fading into the VOD void. If that sounds like a grim predetermined fate, then I apologize, as Khan and his film deserve much more. Chronicling the efforts of the Toronto-raised Roger (Rupak Ginn) to find his birth parents in India, Khoya is an often startling work of compact storytelling. The film is short but spirited, and Khan has clearly spent so much time thinking and developing his tale that its emotional resonance rings true from the first frame. This is a film that deserves to be seen – and my prediction above is one that deserves to be proven wrong.