VAFF Industry Insight (VAFF I²) Panel Series – 2
VAFF Industry Insight Series Panel 2: Sparking Celluloid: Filmmaking for Social Change
Do we share a responsibility, as artists, to wield our craft as an instrument of social change—and how can this be most effective? Includes a screening of the Deepa Mehta film Anatomy of Violence, which examines one of the country’s most internationally notorious crimes: The 2012 gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a Delhi bus. In collaboration with theatre director Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry, Mehta worked improvisationally with her actors to envisage possible sociological and psychological backgrounds and pasts for both the perpetrators and the victim—highlighting a patriarchal culture, cycle of abuse, and an economic system skewed against the disadvantaged.
Speaker 1: Bob Christie – President, Reel Causes
Speaker 2: Dipti Mehta – Writer/Actor
Speaker 3: Paromita Naidu – Director of Development & Communications, WISH Vancouver (BA, MA, MHA)
Speaker 4: Baljit Sangra – Director/Producer
Emcee / Moderator: Rohit Chokhani – Artistic Director, Diwali in BC
(Please see below for Panelist/Moderator bios)
Admission to VAFF screenings is limited to those over 18 years of age holding a valid VAFF membership card.
Co-Presented by Diwali in BC
with additional Community Partners
Rohit Chokhani: Artistic Director, Diwali in BC
Rohit Chokhani is a Jessie award-winning arts curator, Director and a cultural leader. Currently, he is the Artistic Associate for Bard on the Beach and Artistic Director for Diwali In BC. He is also the Artistic Producer at South Asian Arts Society. Prior, he was a Producer for Diwali Fest (2013-2017), Producer in Residence at the National Arts Centre – English Theatre 2015/16, General Manager for Touchstone Theatre 2013/14 and for urban ink production 2012/2013. He recently launched Project SAT (South Asian Theatre project) to create a network for developing, touring, producing and presenting South Asian themed theatre projects. Rohit grew up in Bombay (Mumbai), home to Bollywood. He is highly passionate about making performing arts equitable and sustainable.
Bob Christie: President, Reel Causes
Bob Christie is a filmmaker from Vancouver, Canada whose work explores the interesting spaces where documentary film meets popular entertainment and social justice. He produced and directed the 2009 feature Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride that won ten best documentary awards and many other honours, and also involved substantial on-the-streets activism working with organizers from Poland, Russia, Sri Lanka, the United States, and Canada. Bob’s previous work includes The Royal Eight, a documentary about his family, short films, music videos, and web content, which received completion funding from the National Film Board of Canada. Bob is an active community volunteer, having served on the Vancouver Pride Society’s outreach committee, The Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s Queer History Project advisory committee, and Winter Pride Whistler Film Society. Bob has a BFA in Film and an MA in Comparative Media Arts from Simon Fraser University where his studies focus on LGBT media and activism.
Dipti Mehta: Actor/Writer
Dipti Mehta has worked extensively in Theater, Radio, TV and Film industry in Mumbai and now continues her artistic journey in NYC. She is a feminist with a romantic heart that is always looking for a silver lining in the world. TV credits include Shades of Blue (NBC), The Blacklist (NBC), Golden Boy (CBS) and One Life to Live. Film credits include Accommodations, Humor Me, Split, Penumbra (Cannes Short Film Corner), Life! Camera Action (Winner- 11 nominations and 3 awards) and others. More information can be found on www.diptimehta.com or www.honourcmc.com.
Paromita Naidu: Director of Development & Communications, WISH Vancouver (BA, MA, MHA)
Formerly at Ballet BC, Paromita Naidu is now the Director of Development and Communications at WISH Drop-In Centre in the Downtown Eastside. Her passions have always been deeply entangled in the arts, notions of voice, diaspora, South Asian feminism and anti-oppression work. Trained in bharatnatyam and ballet, she performed at the Winter Olympics in 2010. Now focused on advocacy and community engagement – she also sits on several boards including the Vancouver International Jazz Festival Board, The Vancouver International Children’s Festival and the city-appointed advisory board on cultural communities. Paromita is the recipient of two BC Arts Council grants, and was named one of 12 Remarkable Women in the Arts by the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Parks Board in 2012. She is a single mother of two remarkable and revolutionary children.
Baljit Sangra: Director/Producer
Baljit Sangra is a Vancouver based filmmaker working in documentary and factual entertainment for over 10 years, with an emphasis in exploring social and cross cultural issues through film. She is in production with the NFB on a social issues documentary that explores the impact of sexual violence on a family. Other documentaries she has directed include: Hockey Unites, following two amateur South Asian hockey players with their eyes on the NHL (for OMNI TV); award-winning Many Rivers Home, a personal story focusing on seniors living in assisted care (co-produced with OMNI TV); Warrior Boyz in association with NFB and Canwest that examines the long running gang scene unique to the Indo-Canadian enclave in the Lower Mainland. She also produced an A&E series VIVA! for CityTV and Channel M for several seasons. Baljit runs her own production company Viva Mantra Films and has previously volunteered her time as a board member of both the Documentary Organization of Canada and the Vancouver Asian Film Festival.
Deepa Mehta / November 4 / Canada, India / 2016 / Crime, Drama / 93 minsAnatomy of Violence mixes fiction and fact in an improvised exploration of the events leading up to, and following, the notorious gang rape of a young woman by six men in a moving bus in New Delhi, December 16, 2012.
Preceded by: VAFF Industry Insight (VAFF I²) Panel Series – 2