Surrey movie makes Oscar shortlist

Work Weather Wife among 79 contending for Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

The Punjabi movie Work Weather Wife

A Surrey-based movie has been shortlisted for a 2014 Oscar award.

Work Weather Wife, directed and co-produced by Surrey’s Harpreet Sandhu, features two songs Moon and Long Braid – which are among 79 songs vying for a Best Original Song nomination at this year’s Academy Awards. It is the only Canadian film to be shortlisted in the category.

“It’s a competition with the big fishes,” acknowledges Sandhu, who composed both songs.

The Punjabi-language feature film, which Sandhu also wrote and stars in, follows an Indian couple who are tricked into letting a con-man into their home. The film has proven somewhat controversial, according to Sandhu, as it confronts issues of infidelity and honour killing.

He was thrilled, after an arduous application and screening process, to learn in mid-December that the movie’s music had been noticed among thousands of submissions.

“It felt good,” he said, adding he’s also pleased his team’s talents were appreciated. “Everyone wants their work to be recognized.”

The movie is up against some heavy hitters, however. Songs from big-budget Hollywood blockbusters such as “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” and “The Lego Movie” are included on the list, with just a handful to be chosen as official nominees.

But, Sandhu says, the nature of the category improves his film’s chances.

“When you make a movie, the budget matters,” he says, explaining money buys A-list actors and pricey locations. “But when you make music, budget doesn’t matter as much.”

Work Weather Wife opened in Canada last November, with screenings across the country, including in Guildford and Strawberry Hill theatres.

Sandhu is also hoping the film is nominated for a Canadian Screen Award. Those finalists (there is no shortlist) will be announced early this week.

Nominees for the 87th Academy Awards will be announced Thursday (Jan. 15). The Oscars will be held Feb. 22.