Last weekend, the 10th annual Austin Asian American Film Festival held a free screening to showcase the nominees for Best Narrative Short. Five films from four different countries were shown. Some were in English, others Iranian, and some had no dialogue at all. While all five films were definitely interesting and unique in their own ways, “The Pits,” was one of the most unique, gripping and universally relatable films.
“The Pits” is a six-minute Canadian film directed by Shetu Modi and was the only all-English film nominated in its category. However, that was by far the least unique things about this film. “The Pits” follows an adolescent Indian-Canadian by the name of Dhruvi through to her college years. As a young teen, Dhruvi is alone in her curiosity about things that only apply to her as an Indian growing up in an all-white neighborhood. At one point after spending the day playing volleyball with a friend, she finds herself googling “can your sweat smell like Indian food?”
Modi flashes forward from this moment to Dhruvi as a student at a Canadian university, this time coming across a peer from the same cultural background as her. It is through this new friendship, that she transforms and learns that it is okay to embrace the Indian side of her as well, and do things such as cook Indian food for herself (despite her fear of the spices making her sweat smell odd). “The Pits” is an interesting film for anyone at university, especially those who may be parents of immigrants or a minority in their surroundings.
In a post-screening Q&A, Modi stated that she did have an interest in expanding the short film to a full movie, fingers crossed!
Check out the trailer: