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Even in a career as long and distinguished as that of Deepa Mehta, there’s always an opportunity to do something new and surprising. Those words certainly apply to the Canadian film great’s newest achievement, a documentary made in close collaboration with its subject, Sirat Taneja. Shot on smartphones, the film provides an intimate view of Taneja’s life as a trans woman in New Delhi. Though there are many scenes in which she’s free to express her identity as she entertains her Instagram followers and spends time with friends in the city’s queer community, she’s constrained to play a very different role while caring for her traditional mother and contending with restrictions elsewhere in her society. Metha presents Sirat as a vibrant emblem of a culture in the midst of great change and — above all else — as a person to be seen and celebrated.
Directors: Deepa Mehta & Sirat Taneja
Language: Punjabi with English subtitles
Runtime: 87 minutes
Content advisory: mature themes, bullying, coarse language
Deepa Mehta is a distinguished Indian-born Canadian film director and screenwriter renowned for her groundbreaking Elements Trilogy. Her worldwide influence is demonstrated by the official entries for India’s film Earth and Canada’s film Water for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Co-founder of Hamilton-Mehta Productions, she won the 2003 Screenplay Genie Award for Bollywood/Hollywood. She was honoured with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts in 2012 and has won multiple other awards for her work, including the 2021 Canadian Screen Award for Best Director for Funny Boy. Mehta has had a successful career spanning feature films, television shows, and documentaries.
David Hamilton is a Canadian film producer based in Toronto. David’s business ventures have spanned a variety of enterprises, including hi tech software support, publishing, international trade, concert production/promotion, and film production and sales. David co-owns Hamilton Mehta Productions with Deepa Mehta. For the past 18 years David has produced Deepa’s celebrated, influential, and popular films, including the Oscar nominated (2006) Water; the two previous films in her Elemental trilogy: Fire and Earth; and the comedy Bollywood/Hollywood. In 2013 he produced Midnight’s Children and in 2015 he produced, Beeba Boys, Deepa Mehta’s take on the gangster genre. David holds an MBA from Harvard University, and is a published author on decision theory.
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