Written and directed by Maya Bastian, ‘Air Show’ is a short narrative film that interrogates the experience of newly-arrived Toronto refugees who experience the Canadian Air Show for the first time.
Amongst cheers of glee and exhilaration from it’s viewers, the Canadian Air Show has been tormenting Parkdale citizens for nearly 50 years. The Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale is a diverse area which owes it’s vibrancy to the scores of immigrants and refugees that influence it’s streets.
Nearly 20,000 displaced persons call Parkdale home, many of whom have experienced war and aerial bombing first-hand. What happens when they arrive traumatized by conflict, only to have an extravagant show of Canadian military strength in their front yard? Do the fighter jets above their heads, the deafening noises and the windows rattling elicit a distinct response? This film poses these questions through the eyes of a newly widowed father and his young daughter. The pair arrive as refugees from the 30-year civil conflict in Sri Lanka. They are adjusting to a new, impoverished life when the Canadian Air Show interrupts their dysphoria.
‘Air Show’ aims to explore the intersection of Canadian culture and tradition with our ever-evolving climate of diversity and acceptance. The result is an intimate look at the trauma of conflict, the remnants of which are oft carried over into daily life.
In an experimental fashion, the film was shot during the 2016 Canadian Air Show. All of our professional actors are also victims of war who have experienced air raids. While filming, the actors had the opportunity to react in real-time to the noise and disruption of the fighter jets flying above.