Canada Reads 2014 finalist Cockroach inspires TIFF short film



Each year, the Toronto International Film Festival highlights "short cuts" - short films by upcoming Canadian film makers. Included in the 2014 line-up is The Underground, a film by Canadian actor and filmmaker Michelle Latimer. The 13-minute film was inspired by Rawi Hage's novel, Cockroach, which was a Canada Reads contender in 2014 and defended by comedian and The Daily Show star Samantha Bee.

The film, like the novel, is about an Iranian immigrant who relocates to Canada. But instead of finding a better life, he struggles with poverty, depression and isolation.

"I love [Hage's] ability to be both poetic and gritty. He's not afraid of difficult or dark subject matter and he has a strong social consciousness," Latimer said in a press statement. "The unnamed protagonist in Cockroach could be perceived as unsympathetic, but I thought he was quite beautiful and very true to life. Hage's writing is so descriptive - it draws you into a raw, visceral experience that you can't shake free from."

In addition to Canada Reads, Cockroach was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize,the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.

Watch the Canada Reads trailer for Cockroach below: