Imagine you’re a young South Asian international student from Punjab, India studying Computer Science at Langara College in Vancouver.

Everything is going well and you’re enjoying life in this beautiful west coast Canadian city. You feel blessed.

Then suddenly, overnight, your life comes crashing apart. The relatives you’re living with in Surrey find out you’re gay and kick you out of their house. Your cousin physically assaults you. Then you receive a phone call from your mother and father in Punjab. They tell you the entire family has disowned you and wants nothing to do with you.

You’re trapped in a foreign country with no money for food or shelter or to pay your international student fees. Your immigration status is in limbo. What would you do? How would you survive? 

This is the opening premise of the feature documentary film, Emergence: Out of the Shadows. 

Emergence moves beyond being a true story of survival, resourcefulness and resilience. It illuminates the trauma of family rejection and its impact on emotional and psychological health, especially for this young man, Kayden. 

The film explores struggles and strengths of two South Asians who have emerged from similar experiences in Vancouver– a gay man, Alex, and lesbian, Jag. Sharing their stories of coming out experiences within a traditional South Asian community gives a rare glimpse into the challenges faced with traditional South Asian families.

Parents are caught in an internal dilemma and conflict as they try to make sense of traditional beliefs, values and morals while holding on to the love, acceptance and concern they have for their children.

The stories of Kayden, Alex and Jag begin from a place of darkness and emerge out of the shadows to a place of courage and hope.