NYIFF > Breaking Barriers
Breaking Barriers
Los Angeles

Breaking Barriers

Industry Panels @ NYIFF
Breaking Barriers, Sharing Stories:
The New Indian Women Filmmakers

Saturday, May 13
Reception: 9:30-10am ET / Panel: 10:00-11am ET 
MNN on 38th, 509 W 38th Street, NY, NY 10018

Event is FREE with Registration
New York Indian Film Festival, New York Women in Film & Television 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 Nisha Pahuja.
Moderated by NYWIFT Board Member, Shruti Ganguly.
NYWIFT Board Member, NYIFF 2023 Jury 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.
Nisha Pahuja is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker. Her credits include the series Diamond Road (2008 Gemini Award for Best Documentary Series), Bollywood Bound (2002 Gemini Award nominee) and the multi-award-winning The World Before Her (2012; Best Documentary Feature, Jury Award Winner, Tribeca Film Festival; Best Canadian Documentary, Hot Docs; TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten; Best Documentary nominee, Canadian Screen Awards; Sundance Film Forward Program 2014). Her short film about the Delhi gang rape, made for Global News’ 16×9, was the recipient of an Amnesty International media award for Canadian journalism in 2015. Nisha was invited to be a Resident Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in 2014 and was on their arts selection panel from 2016 to 2020. She is currently in post-production on To Kill a Tiger, slated for a 2022 release. Nisha is also the executive producer of 14 & Muslim (2018) and #BLESSED (2020), a feature documentary on the rise of Christian evangelicalism in Toronto.
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 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 are collaborating on the restoration of her film One Hand Don’t Clap with plans for re-release of this earlier work. 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”. An India-born American, she serves on the Board of Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and is a member of New York Women in Film & Television, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Film Fatales, and Women Independent Producers. 
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.
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