Q & A with Supinder Wraich – Actress and Creator of Digital Series The 410

The International Premiere of CBC’s first ever, dramatic narrative digital series: The 410 at SLAMDANCE. The series boasts an impressive, completely diverse cast, and is one not to be missed this year!

The series centers on Suri (Indian, blonde and bougie), who is desperate to bail her father out of jail, as she comes face-to-face with the criminal underworld that operates inside her seemingly quiet suburban community.

Supinder Wraich’s BIOGRAPHY:

Supinder Wraich is an actor and filmmaker born
near New Delhi raised in Toronto and currently living in Los Angeles.

As the lead of the CTV Emmy Award winning
series Guidestones, Supinder earned a Canadian Screen
Award (15) for her performance. She has appeared in numerous film and
television productions including: CTV’s Degrassi
TNG
FX’s The
Strain,
and ABC’s
The Good Doctor.

Supinder is a recent participant in Women in
Film’s Mentorship program (20), under the guidance of Judy Henderson -Disney
Channel & Mai Ling Matthews -Media Res Studios. Currently, Supinder is
writing the 2nd season of her CBC Gem series: The 410,
produced in association with Telefilm and shooting Global TV’s Private Eyes & Amazon’s The Expanse.

A graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s
Actor’s Conservatory, she holds a BA in Communications from Ottawa University
and is also a Sheridan College, Advanced Film & Television program alumni.

Here is, in her own words, what she was trying to accomplish with the digital series:

Minorities don’t want to be depicted as bad people on screen, because we face enough discrimination in real life… And in the South Asian culture, a community afflicted with the ‘What will people say?’ syndrome this is especially true.

So when I decided to write a story about an
Indo-Canadian family involved in drug trafficking, I was scared. ‘What will
they say?’

But coming from a trucking family myself, I
couldn’t ignore the large number of South Asian truck drivers being arrested
and convicted of trafficking drugs within my own community. When I saw pictures
of them, they reminded me of my dad. They were so familiar and unfamiliar to me
at the same time.

And I didn’t think they were bad. And I
believed they deserved to have their story told. As a South Asian Actress,
quite frankly, I was tired of always playing the good girl. The darker, more
complex & conflicted roles, never really seemed to lean toward minority
casting…

So that’s where The 410 came from; my desire to inhabit a darker more complex character and this dark, true-come story that was happening within my own community.

 

Q&A with Supinder Wraich:

Q: Where did the idea of  “The 410” come from?

Supinder: Around 2014-2015 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. I imagined the lives of those truck drivers: what aspirations drove them to commit those crimes: money/ power/ social rank?

At the same time, I also had an interest in
the growing ‘influencer’ culture and a fascination with what people choose to
project about themselves on social media vs. what they hide.

As I began to develop the characters of the father and the daughter in the story, I saw a similar theme in both their lives: each character possessed a desire for something just out of their reach. Although they operated in two very different worlds, they were both victims to the pursuit of the same objective. There was something about that narrative that as an actor I identified with, in this desire for more, without knowing exactly what the ‘more’ looks like. Exploring that idea was one of the main motivators for me in writing The 410.

Q: What was the most challenging or unusual part about making this webseries?

Supinder: Getting our community behind us. This show wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the support of Brampton’s Indo-Canadian community and the resources they opened up to us. Including homes, truck yards, temples…

Because the story shines a light on darker issues within our community, the discussions with community leaders to obtain their permission and support toward the project were at times quite tense. And we always stuck to our mission, that we would not depict this community / my community in a negative light, but rather shine a light on the truth.

Q: Tell us about your cast and why these actors in particular? 

Supinder: With the exception of ‘Malkit’ the father character, we didn’t hold any auditions. As an actor myself, the actors I cast were actors I’ve worked with, or wanted to work with. They are incredible actors, and they were that before they said yes to The 410, I’m just lucky that with their busy schedules, everyone I wanted was able to commit to our time-line.

The 410 is about my community, I come from a trucking family, it’s shot in Brampton, on location in my parents show. Aspects of my real life are littered throughout this series. My dad is not a drug smuggler, but he’s definitely a difficult man to penetrate, my grandmother is in the Nani character as well. Basically if you’re in my life, you cant hide from me in my story.

Q: Tell us about your creative process? 

Supinder: This was my first attempt at a feature length story. I read a lot of books, and watched a lot of movies and set aside as much time as I could to write. What was unique about this particular story was that its based on true events, so I had resources to lean on: police officers, lawyers, people who knew of people who were in prison for trafficking drugs.

Writing for myself proved to be one of the most difficult aspects because I was playing Suri, it was hard to see her as clearly and objectively as I saw the other characters.

Q: What do you think of the representation of Indians and people of color in current television? How do you think The 410 makes it evolve?

Supinder: I think that though things are changing / shifting, and expanding the previously narrow definition we’ve seen of South Asians on screen, there’s still a ways to go. What I tried to ensure while writing The 410 is that we focus on the culture second and story first. At it’s heart it’s a story about a crime family, who just happens to be South Asian, and I think that’s cool.

Q: What is the theme of your series and how would you like the audience to receive its message?  

Supinder: The 410 touches on several themes: isolation, gender politics, duality, but I’m not sure that there’s a specific message within it, or that I consciously wrote a message into the story. I don’t believe I did. I hope though, in that we are depicting a South Asian Crime family, which is a portrayal rarely seen in mainstream film and TV, that through watching this family struggle with communication, and loving one another not knowing how to take care of each other, that audiences will realize that we’re all pretty much the same…

Q: What’s next? Is there going to be a Season 2?

Supinder: We’re currently working with The CBC toward a season 2.

Q: What are you still looking for?

Supinder: The show is currently only airing in Canada, and we’re definitely looking for someone Stateside to introduce the series to American Audiences.

Q: Anything else you would like to add? Go for it.

Supinder: The 410 is named after the solitary highway that is the entryway from the City of Toronto to the suburb of Brampton, where our story takes place.

The 410 is this artery in and out of Brampton. Truck
yards, warehouses, factories flank it on either side. It doesn’t boast pretty
scenery, but it’s so important to the economy and livelihoods of so many
Bramptonians, yet almost nobody is happy to be on that stretch of road. I felt
that, in a way, that’s how Suri feels about returning home, until she comes to
know the value of this place.

I came up with the name, funnily enough, while
driving on the 410…

…It was during rush hour traffic and dozens of
tractor-trailers all forged ahead at a snail’s pace and I just felt stuck! The 410, in that moment was the
last place I wanted to be. That’s when it clicked. 

I pitched the name to our team, and immediately, everyone
was on board, so that’s what we called it.

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