September 16, 2010
From a very early age, I’ve believed that when confronted with injustice one has a duty to try to right it. When I was eight, my six year old brother was hit in the head with a wad of hardened gum pried from under the seat of the school bus by an older bully type. When I told the bus driver he instructed me to “sit down and shut up” and yelled at my brother to quit his crying. The offender went unpunished. Now—to me—the larger affront was that the bus driver—the arbitrator of right and wrong on the bus—refused to do the right thing and punished the victim. So I wrote a petition, got as many kids and parents as I could to sign it, presented it to the principal and had the bus driver suspended. I’ve spent the rest of my life resisting any impulse to sit down and shut up.
I am now an Independent filmmaker and have had short films screened in over 50 festivals around the globe. My work shifts between my two passions: projects that give voice to marginalized communities and creatively address injustice in the world and art minded films based in personal narrative.
My documentary "99 to 1: Ovarian Cancer and Me" was award the Jury Prize for Short Film in the 2009 International Health Film Festival in Greece and chosen for the touring festival Southern Circuit showcasing outstanding independent filmmakers from the South. "Grounded by Reality" a short doc about the artwork and physical reality of Jessica Blinkhorn—an artist with Spinal Muscular Atrophy who is slowly losing the use of her hands—was the winner of the American Documentary/POV award in the International Documentary Challenge and will be broadcast nationally in 2011.
My production company Unblinking Eye Films is currently embarking on a documentary film and multi-media community based project called "Heads Held High" in partnership with Shampa Roy and the staff at Trinita Society for Social and Health Research who have been working in the slums of Kolkata for 17 years to bring educational access to Kolkata’s poorest children. India is the fourth largest economy in the world and has seen unprecedented growth in the last decade but it is also suffers some of the biggest gender and economic gaps in its education system. Boys are schooled at double the rate of girls and many girls in poor communities deeply feel their second-class status. We hope to share with the world the struggles girls have in gaining access to education—as well as their successes.