EXCLUSIVE: Agam Darshi, who was most recently seen in Deepa Mehta’s coming-of-age film Funny Boy and can be seen in Ava DuVernay’s forthcoming HBO Max series DMZ, is set to make her directorial debut with the family dramedy Donkeyhead. Principal photography started in Regina, Saskatchewan on January 18. It is slated for release later this year.
Directed, written by and starring Darshi, DonkeyHead follows Mona (Darshi), a thirty-something woman who returns to her traditional Sikh family home in order to sort things out in her messy life. However, what starts as something temporary turns into seven years after her father is diagnosed with cancer. When his health suddenly takes a turn for the worst her three successful siblings played by Stephen Lobo (Travelers), Sandy Sidhu (Nurses) and Huse Madhavj (Schitt’s Creek) come home, determined to take care of the situation. Through quirky family dynamics, things quickly unravel as Mona is forced to face her questionable life choices while she and her siblings come to terms with each other and their past.
Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy) also stars as Mona’s unhappily married lover while Marvin Ishmael (Degrassi: The Next Generation) and Balinder Johal (Beeba Boys) play Monda’s father and aunt.
“This is a very personal story in many ways,” said Darshi. “I really wanted to create a film that exposed my experiences of growing up in Canada and feeling as much Canadian as I do Indian – if not more at times.
“Filmmaking is a challenge at the best of times, let alone during harsh prairie winters and a pandemic,” said producer Kelly Balon, “and it’s reassuring to see how devoted our world class cast and crew have been to make sure we give Agam’s story the care it deserves with everyone’s safety at top of mind. There is a lot of heart behind this film.”
Producer Anand Ramayya adds, “Agam has such a unique voice — she brings levity and insight to the universal story of a family reconnecting as they deal with the death of a parent. I truly feel like everyone will see themselves in this complex and layered family”.
Mehta and Coates serve as executive producers while Anand Ramayya and Kelly Balon will produce for Karma Film. Donkeyhead is set to be theatrically distributed by Level Film and broadcast on Superchannel in Canada. Worldwide rights are open. The production is financed by Telefilm Canada, Creative Saskatchewan, SaskTel Max Equity, Canada Media Fund, BC and Federal tax credits.
Darshi is repped by Gilbertson Enteretainment.