President , Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival
Mannu Sandhu is an Indian based Canadian model, she along with her family moved from Chandigarh, India and settled in Vancouver, BC where she completed her high school studies. Throughout high school Mannu was always actively involved within her school environment—helping to organize school events and various charities. After high school she started to model on the side and continued to be an active participant in her community by helping out at all major election campaigns with the conservative party in the lower mainland. Upon graduating, Mannu, worked as an executive assistant for Member of Parliament–Nina Grewal . This led Mannu to pursue a career as a correctional officer. She moved to Victoria, BC to finish her training and later moved back to Vancouver where she started to work as a full time Correctional Officer. Mannu had always expressed a strong desire to get involved with the arts and through modeling, it was able to build a foundation and network with industry related individuals. She was a finalist in the Miss B.C. pageant in 2009 and placed 1st Runner Up in the Miss Moella Canada Beauty Pageant in 2010. While working as a Correctional Officer, Mannu is often exposed to young men and women who were brought into the facility as a result of negative actions, such as drug and alcohol abuse, gang affiliation, weapon possession and assault. Feeling disappointed as to where the youth of her community was heading, she often felt like there was something missing. She believed her life had a stronger purpose-and that is to change and motivate the lives of those around her and her community. And for her to change that was by giving back to her community. Mannu devotes her time to various charities and non-profit organizations such as: BC Childrens Hospital, Sikh Blood Donation; Pakistan Flood Relief, Salvation Army,Operation Canada and Mannkind Charitable Society where she and her team members travel to Baru Sahib Himachal Pardes, India every year for their mission to help children born with facial deformities. Mannu wants to change the way women in our community and around the world are mistreated and one of the ways to get this message across is through the media of film and television. She decided to train in film and television and continued to pursue acting and modeling on the side. Mannu competed in Miss Universe Canada 2011 and placed top 16 on the panel. Mannu also won Miss Universe Canada 2011 Humanitarian Award for raising the most funds for SOS Children’s Village to build three computer centers in Nicaragua. She completed her first Canadian feature film “Footsteps into Gangland” directed by Mani Amar in 2011. Footsteps Into Gangland is adaptation of true events that have shattered the South Asian community of Vancouver. It gives the audience and especially parents a true and unbiased look into a single day of the lives of these characters. The Character description of Mannu Sandhu( as Mya in the movie) has spent most of her life in the foster care system. Since her tender age she was shifted from one home to another, Mya now 17, has only to wait until her 18th birthday before she can take control of her own life and escape. Mannu signed two feature films back to back making it her 3rd feature film in less than 2 years. Her second feature film is a Punjabi film with Vibgyor Productions called “Saadi Wakhri Hai Shaan” directed by Gurbir Grewal (previous hit Mannat). Mannu plays a very fun and bubbly character ‘Rashi’ in the film. The Third Film she signed is by KR Hollywood production from LA called ‘Maple Heart’. Majority of the film was shot in the Vancouver area. Mannu plays the role of ‘Rima’ who comes from a broken family. Her father is a typical alcoholic who denys his addiction while the family suffers his consequences. The film touches on various subjects of abuse, sexual, mental issues and other internal issues that can be the result of alcohol within the family household and ultimately the choices it leads us to make. Aspiring actress Mannu Sandhu looks up to Vidya Balan and Angelina Jolie for their willingness to take on bold roles in theCinema. She looks forward to working with Directors and Producers who are willing to give her a chance with roles that demand different characters and personalities. Working as a Correctional Officer in the Canadian Prison System has opened her eye to so many different personalities, characters and also their emotions. Majority of the population in the prison suffers from mental health issue and are often neglected by their families and thrown in jail. Learning their firsthand experience with the society and their families is sometimes very heartbreaking. She feels those characters never get recognized or shown on screen to showcase the real problem and how public can deal with such personalities. Mannu is hoping to work with more Canadian and Hollywood based films which will reveal such characters and also open to working with Indian Cinema.