Caleb is a Canadian filmmaker born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. His mother comes from the Caribbean island of Grenada while his father comes from the Canadian island of Newfoundland. This mixed heritage has allowed him to observe how different people and cultures are universally related - a theme he explores in his filmmaking.
Caleb Ryan’s Vagrant uses a man-and-man’s-best-friend parable to brilliantly depict the failures taking place every day at the margins of society. When people and social systems have failed to provide empathy and support, a puppy is able to catalyze a homeless man’s reintegration into society.
At the heart of this story is an immigrant trying to redeem himself and his relationship to his son. Neither of them is fully aware of the systems in which they are located, nor how these systems penalize otherness, setting him and his family up for failure. Among its many keen insights is the way that values are blurred with value: how easily corrupt intent is applied to the marginalized.
As a debut film, Vagrant is a testament to Ryan’s tenacity as a filmmaker. The movie is beautifully shot and produced, with a budget of only 35K. Not only are Ryan’s filmmaking tactics noteworthy, his approach to casting is incredibly progressive and his approach to the subject matter is nuanced. He not only skewers systemic flaws, but also offers alternative models for supporting the marginalized.
This film begs the question: is this man worthy of love and understanding? Caleb Ryan screams yes; his humanity is undeniable.
CAST & CREDITS
Luke Oparah, Ana Isabella Piñero
RECOMMENDED WATCH TIME, FOLLOWED BY EXCLUSIVE DIRECTOR Q&A:
OCT 15, 8:30 PM