New York Women in Film & Television, New York Indian Film Festival, and Manhattan Neighborhood Network are pleased to present a panel discussion that highlights the emergence of Indian women documentary filmmakers in recent years. This event aims to explore the unique non-fiction narratives that these filmmakers are sharing with the world, as well as the challenges they face in the industry.
As we have witnessed, there has been a remarkable emergence of Indian documentaries at international film festivals, with three Indian documentaries being nominated for the Academy Awards in 2021 and 2022, and one winning an Oscar this year. Many of these documentaries have been made by women filmmakers, including The Elephant Whisperers, A Night of Knowing Nothing, Writing With Fire, The Bengali, To Kill a Tiger, Against the Tide and And, Towards Happy Alleys.
These talented women are breaking barriers and bringing a unique perspective to the field of documentary filmmaking. Through their work, they are shedding light on diverse and underrepresented stories from India and around the world. However, despite their achievements, they often face challenges in funding, distribution, and recognition.
Join us as we hear from some of the most prominent Indian women documentary filmmakers, as they share their experiences and insights. We hope this panel will inspire and empower all those who are interested in the world of documentary filmmaking, particularly women filmmakers.
Speakers include Bedatri D. Choudhury, Kavery Kaul, and Geeta Gandbhir.
Moderated by NYWIFT Board Member, Shruti Ganguly.
Date: Saturday, May 13, 2023
Time: Reception: 9:30-10am ET / Panel: 10:00-11am ET
Location: MNN on 38th, 509 W 38th Street, NY, NY 10018
NYWIFT Board Member Shruti Ganguly (Moderator) is a filmmaker and writer based between New York City and Oslo. Shruti was a member of the Obama Administration’s ECCO committee of 30 leaders and creators in entertainment, chairing its Asian Caucus, and is on the Creative Council for Emily’s List. She has produced several feature and short films (including Spirit-winner H., and the Nora Ephron Prize-winner Initials SG) that have premiered at Sundance, Venice, Tribeca, Telluride, and Berlin. Ganguly is currently writing for Secret Daughter for Amazon Studios, which will star Priyanka Chopra and Sienna Miller, directed by Cannes-winner Anthony Chen. Ganguly developed and will EP Flossy, a half-hour comedy with writer/comedian Kerry Coddett, and EP Robin Thede, set up at Warner Bros and Showtime, and she will be an EP and writer on the half-hour TV series Brown Baby, which is in development with Bad Robot/Warner Bros and will star Himesh Patel. Ganguly has directed and produced commercials, short and feature docs, music videos and branded content, ranging from clients like Nike, Netflix, Michael Kors, MUNCH, and so on, through her production company honto88. In addition, Ganguly started Prism Entertainment with producers Megha Kadakia and Priya Giri Desai to focus on high-quality, South Asian-focused film and TV content. Previously, Ganguly worked at NYLON, MTV, and Conde Nast, producing the Clio-winning 73 Questions series. She is a co-founder of the Resistance Revival Chorus, a collective born out of the Women’s March that brings together artists and activists to use music and joy as an act of resistance. Ganguly is a published writer (Nevertheless We Persisted, Penguin) and a contributing writer for The Juggernaut. Ganguly received her Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, and went to NYU’s dual MFA/MBA program at Tisch and Stern. She hails from India, by way of Oman.
Geeta Gandbhir is an award-winning Director, Producer and Editor. She started her career in narrative film under Spike Lee and Sam Pollard, after working for eleven years in the edit room in scripted film, with the likes of Merchant Ivory, the Coen Brothers, Robert Altman and others she branched into documentary film.
As Director, she is currently working on the series Eyes on the Prize for HBO. Her most recent film with Sam Pollard and Multitude Films, After Selma:The Lowndes County Freedom Party premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for a 2022 Critics Choice Award and streams on Peacock in February 2023. She also recently directed and show-ran a 4 part series for HBO titled Black and Missing, which is currently airing on HBO and won a 2022 NAACP Award for Best Directing, a 2022 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Series, a 2022 ATAS Honors Award and a 2023 Cinema Eye Award. She also recently directed a film called Apart with Rudy Valdez for HBOMax which was nominated for an NAACP Award and won a 2022 Emmy Award. Her 2020 short film with Topic Studios Call Center Blues was shortlisted for a 2021 Academy Award, and she directed an episode of the five-part series of the The Asian Americans for PBS, which won the 2021 Peabody Award. Other projects include directing the six-part series Why We Hate for Jigsaw Productions and Amblin Entertainment for Discovery, the feature documentary I Am Evidence for HBO which won a 2019 Emmy, DuPont and ATAS Award, and the film Armed with Faith for PBS which won a 2019 News and Documentary Emmy. In 2017 she directed an episode of the Netflix series The Rapture on rap artist Rapsody. In 2016 her feature documentary, Prison Dogs, which she co-directed with Perri Peltz, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and her film A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers which premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival and later aired on PBS as part of the series Women, War and Peace. She also co-directed and co-produced the series A Conversation on Race with The New York Times Op-Docs, which won an Online Journalism Award for Online Commentary, an AFI Documentary Film Festival Audience Award for Best Short and garnered a MacArthur Grant. She was also a co-producer on the HBO film the Sentence, directed by Rudy Valdez which won a 2019 Primetime Emmy. As Editor, her films won two Emmy Awards, 4 Peabody Awards and one Academy Award.
Kavery Kaul is an award-winning director, producer, and writer, who uses an intimate lens to craft stories which boundlessly straddle different worlds. The founder of riverfilms, her work has been featured at DOC NYC, Telluride, London, Rotterdam, and Sydney Festivals, among other major festivals. It has reached wide audiences in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Her credits include The Bengali, a feature documentary recently released in the US and India; Cuban Canvas, an Imagen Award Nominee which premiered at the Kennedy Center; Long Way from Home, a Film Threat and Time Out Critic’s Pick; and First Look, presented on PBS-TV by the National Latino Broadcasting Consortium (LPB). The Academy Film Archive and the Women’s Film Preservation Fund restored her film One Hand Don’t Clap which had its US premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. An India-born American, Kavery has garnered Fulbright and Logan Fellowships and a New York City Proclamation of Excellence. Her TEDx talk speaks to the power of storytelling across divides. As Fulbright’s 75th anniversary arts speaker, she reminded listeners that “Stories Matter”.
Bedatri D. Choudhury studied literature in New Delhi and then Cinema Studies at Tisch. She has managed a number of documentary programs for Doc Society, Gotham, Rada Studio, and Aubin Pictures, among others. Most recently, she was the managing editor of IDA’s Documentary magazine. A culture journalist, she loves writing on film, art, and theatre from the intersections of race, gender, and class. She is Philadelphia Inquirer’s Arts and Entertainment Editor and a programmer for Doc NYC, IFFLA, and SFFILM. When not writing, she can be heard airing out her hot takes on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. She lives in New York with her plants.
About The New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF):
NYIFF is the oldest, most prestigious film festival screening premieres of feature, documentary and short films made from, of, and about the Indian subcontinent in the independent, arthouse, alternate and diaspora genres. Four days of screenings, post-screening discussions, industry panels, award ceremonies, special events, after parties, red carpet galas, media attention and packed audiences build an awareness of Indian cinema, entertain and educate North Americans about the real India, and add to the amazing cultural diversity of New York City. For more information, please visit www.nyiff.us
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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.