Supinder Wraich Talks New Series ‘The 410’, Representing The South Asian Community And Finding Inspiration

Kat Harlton

Supinder Wraich was born in Chandigarh, India and raised in Toronto, Canada. Supinder found her passion for performing at the young age of five when she would happily put on a skit for her friends and family. Her dreams of being in showbiz would be stunted temporarily when she attended a heavy maths and sciences focused high school which eventually brought her to study communications at the University of Ottawa. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, Supinder’s love for the arts would continue to tug at her leading her to enroll in the Advanced Film and Television Program at Sheridan College, focusing on Writing and Producing. While studying at Sheridan College, Supinder became a part of the Sawitri Theatre Group, an award-wining, incorporated not-for-profit South Asian theatre organization, based in Mississauga. Ontario. It was Sawitri that pushed Supinder to pursue acting as a profession and forger her path as an actor. Supinder would go on to attend the Canadian Film Centre’s (CFC) Acting Conservatory, an intensive six-month program that explores the different techniques of acting and headed by Internationally acclaimed filmmaker, Norman Jewison.

Her first big break came when she was cast in the Emmy award-winning web series Guidestones. This role resulted in her win for Best Performance in a Program or Series Produced for Digital Media at the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards.

Supinder has amassed a significant body of work in several film and television productions including Hunter’s Moon, Textuality, The Border (CBC), Degrassi: The Next Generation (CTV), Saving Hope (CTV), Combat Hospital (CBC), Rookie Blue (GLOBAL), Copper (BBC), Haven (SYFY), Backpackers (THE CW), The Beaverton (COMEDY), Incorporated (SYFY), The Strain (FX), and The Good Doctor (ABC).

In addition to acting, Supinder has directed and written multiple films that have screened at festivals across North America including The Reel World Film Festival, The Punjabi International Film Festival (PIFF), Filmi- Toronto’s first South Asian Film Festival, WIFT’s (Women in Film and Television) Short Film Showcase and her 2014 Music Video debut for Imran Khan’s PATA CHALGEA has garnered over 36 Million YouTube views.

Understanding the importance of philanthropy, Supinder supports causes that are close to her heart. Alongside her family, she gives back to Seva Kitchen, an organization that provides free food to the hungry while promoting the values of Sikhism.

Recently Supinder released her web series THE 410, about a South Asian female lead who turns to a life of crime to bail her truck driver father out of prison. The show, which she wrote and stars in, airs on CBC’s streaming service CBC GEM. We recently had the chance to chat with Supinder about The 410, representing the South Asian community and where she finds inspiration.

Kat: Can you talk about your role in The 410? What inspired you to create this project?

Supinder: The 410 is a digital series on CBC Gem that I wrote and play the lead in. The story centers around Suri (Surpreet) Deol, an Indo-Canadian wannabe-Instagram-it-girl who’s forced to return home to the suburb of Brampton, ON after her truck driver father is arrested for smuggling narcotics across the border. A few years ago I began to notice a reoccurring narrative in the Indo-Canadian community where South Asian truck drivers were arrested at several borders for attempting to traffic narcotics. My dad used to be a truck driver, some of my uncles still drive truck and I took inspiration from these stories because in a way, I felt like I knew these men. I felt that their families couldn’t be that different from my own, and it was from that point of view that I proceeded to write the series.

Kat: Do you feel that a webseries was the best medium for the show? If so, why? Did you always plan for it to be a webseries?

Supinder: Originally I wrote the piece as a feature film. When it was funded as a series, I went in and separated out the acts and reformatted a few story points to make the endings work. I always have taken the position that I wanted to tell this story, but from the get go wasn’t sure what shape it would end up taking. I’m really glad that we ended up on CBC Gem, which currently is a free streaming platform. It means there are no barriers to anyone experiencing the content. No subscription fees, or time periods within when they need to view the series. It opens us up to a wider audience and although I didn’t always plan for the show to be distributed this way, I’m very happy with the model.

Kat: The series shines a light on important issues within the South Asian community, including drug trafficking, addiction and criminality. Why was highlighting these issues important to you?

Supinder: Our aim in producing a series about the South Asian Community for the CBC that addresses a strained father/ daughter relationship, as well as addiction, imprisonment, patriarchy and the other themes outlined above, is that it’ll shine a light on things our community has felt the need to hide. I’m not pointing fingers here; I believe these issues exist across all cultures, but for the Indo-Canadians their experiences with these issues have not been given a venue to be explored, or examined. I’m hoping by doing so, that it’ll help us feel less alone, less ashamed, and maybe even bring us together.

Kat: Do you have any role models or mentors that you look to for inspiration?

Supinder: There were a few books that I went to for inspiration while trying these scripts, I love Jumpa Lahiri, her book of short stories: The Interpreter of Maladies is one of my favourite books. I also loved Good Girls Marry Doctors an anthology of true stories from South Asian women, edited by Piyali Bhattacharya.

Kat: Do you have any advice for others who are looking to act or work in the entertainment industry?

Supinder: Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.

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