A scene from the short film Bartimaeus, directed by Ranjit Mullakady. It was written by Jason Steele, who also plays the main role and is shown here second from right. (Contributed image).

Local filmmakers collaborate on a project showing the damaging effects of anger

Ranjit Mullakady and Jason Steele create the short, Bartimaeus

A Red Deer filmmaker’s latest screen project is about a hot-tempered man — but it can be viewed as a metaphor for our increasingly acrimonious world.

“A lot of people were angry in the last election,” said Ranjit Mullakady, director of the half-hour film Bartimaeus.

And the left-right political split that led to some inflammatory electioneering in this month’s federal election isn’t endemic to Canada.

The U.S. population has aligned itself either for or against controversial President Donald Trump, while British people are either clamouring to stay in the European Union, or agitating for a swifter Brexit deal.

Globally, there’s rising discontent over technological job losses, climate change, migrant “queue jumping” — even the uneven distribution of wealth as the 99 per cent demand a bigger share of the pie, currently hoarded by the one per cent.

“It seems everybody’s hot tempered. Every part of the country is boiling over,” said Mallakady.

His short film concerns only one angry man — even though the story, created as a collaboration with local actor/screenwriter Jason Steele, can be viewed as a barometer of our times.

Mullakady directed the screenplay that Steele wrote and acts in, and sees a lot of himself in the main role.

“I am that guy. It could have been about my life…. I was also hot tempered,” said Mullakady. “But fortunately, my wife is so generous and calm,” with a gift for diffusing tense situations.

The film, named for the blind man of the Bible, shows the harm that one person’s anger can wreak — not only on the man’s career, when he loses his sales job, but also on his family.

After the anti-hero gets into a fight with his son, his rage turns inward and he ends up in hospital with a stroke.

Ultimately, the message of the film is forgiveness, said Mullakady — which he thinks is something we should all strive for to attain inner peace.

A by-invitation-only crowd will see the short on Nov. 9 to provide some input before the film is fine-tuned for the festival circuit.

Mullakady hopes it will eventually be shown to the general public at the Central Alberta Film Festival in Red Deer after being submitted to festivals around the globe.

Meanwhile another short film — a 10-minute project he also created with Steele, called Walk With Me, about a son who has a father with Parkinson’s disease — could be brought before a local audience sooner.

Mullakady said it might be shown at the next Central Alberta Film Festival, which is now accepting submissions.


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