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Calgary filmmaker details the experiences of international students

Last Updated Apr 2, 2021 at 8:03 pm MDT

CALGARY (CityNews) — A Calgary filmmaker is planning to use his skills behind the camera to share a message through film: the obstacles behind being an international student.

“So that other international students can learn, and not make the same mistakes that we made.”

From Nigeria, Emmanuel Ilondior came to Canada in 2003 to study.

He plans for the film to follow two students – one well-off, while the other pays their way on their own.

“The first time away from parents, totally free. you make your own decisions. No one is watching you, so a lot of people make stupid decisions along the way.”

Issues around deportation are also faced by the characters in the movie.

International students have faced one of the hardest years on record during the pandemic. Isolation is at an all-time high, with quarantines, financial burdens, and a difficult job market with dwindling prospects only making matters worse.

Ilondior decided not to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, however.

He wanted to share the struggles that were there to begin with, to help students finish their studies even in the face of adversity.

“There have been situations where international students have had to go back home, whereas there is so much help you can get if you just reach out.”

The movie is self-funded by Ilondior and will begin filming in May.

He plans to release it next February during Black History Month, and aspires to present it at the Calgary International Film Festival.