Quietly involving drama has modest commercial potential, but merits further fest travel and consideration by quality cable/disc programmers.

A Sri Lankan tsunami survivor’s difficult adjustment to refugee life in Canada is the focus of “Snow,” documentarian Rohan Fernando’s debut narrative feature. Buoyed by effective perfs from a largely non-pro cast and well-judged production values, this quietly involving drama has modest commercial potential, but merits further fest travel and consideration by quality cable/disc programmers.

A far cry from “Hereafter’s” elaborate tsunami depiction, prologue finds 24-year-old protag Parvati (Kalista Zackhariyas) enjoying a sibling bonding moment in her family’s stilt-built village home when a rumbling is heard and she looks outside to face unseen impending horror with open-mouthed disbelief. Next thing we know, she’s in Halifax, having lost her immediate family and fiance. She’s now an awkward houseguest to expat relatives who’ve welcomed her to varying degrees, unfortunately dominated by an uncle (Mohan Fernando) who simply wants to marry her off to the first bidder. Getting a hotel housekeeping job, she meets another grieving soul (Sobaz Benjamin) inconsolable over his own familial loss. Parvati’s concern for this suicidal stranger, as well as for a homeless girl (Ria Mae) she befriends, leads the story in unexpected directions before a lyrical, open-ended fade.

Snow

Canada

Production

A Sutram Pictures production. (International sales: Sutram Pictures, Halifax.) Produced by Suzanne Lively, Rohan Fernando. Executive producer, Ann Bernier. Directed, written by Rohan Fernando.

Crew

Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Tarek Abouamin; editors, Sarah Byrne, Fernando; music, Asif Illyas; production designer, Alan Macleod; art director, Michael Holleran; costume designer, Michael Holtzman. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, March 24, 2011. (In Cinequest Film Festival.) Running time: 86 MIN.

With

Kalista Zackhariyas, Ria Mae, Achala Hewaarachchi, Mohan Fernando, Himaly Fernando, Pardis Parker, Sobaz Benjamin. (English, Tamil dialogue)

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