A Penticton woman is hoping her short film about Maple Batalia, the 19-year-old aspiring model and SFU student who was allegedly gunned down by her ex-boyfriend in 2011, will inspire other women of South Asian descent to take up the arts.
Krystal Kiran got funding from BravoFACT to make the short film, which she called Thy Beauty's Doom. Kiran didn't know Batalia, but she felt drawn to her because of their shared culture and passion for the arts.
"She was a performer, actor and amazing painter," says Kiran. "When I saw her paintings that's what really inspired me. You get to know their spirit."
Kiran wrote, directed and performed in the film. She describes it as a "cinematic dance narrative." It premiered at the Punjabi International Film Festival in May.
Kiran and the Batalia family have established the Maple Batalia Bursary for the Arts, which will go to young women of South Asian descent. Kiran says that within her culture there isn't a lot of support for women to pursue the arts.
"We are not encouraged to become artists," says Kiran."There is a lot of stigma."
Funding for the bursary will come from sales of Forever Gone (Maple’s Song), the song featured on Thy Beauty's Doom. The song is available on iTunes.
In a written statement, Batalia’s family said they’re pleased with the film.
“We are very grateful that Maple’s artistic talents will be showcased for everyone to see and are very happy with how the film shows the audience an artistic beauty that is true to who Maple was,” said Rose Batalia, Maple’s older sister.
Gurjinder Gary Dhaliwal, Batalia’s ex-boyfriend, has been charged with first-degree murder in Maple's death. He is scheduled to appear in court this Thursday.
Another man, Gursimar Bedi has been charged with manslaughter and being an accessory after the fact in the death.