This year’s Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) will include a special appearance by noted Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta and the screening of her films at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus on Monday (Sept. 28).
Presented by VIFF, SFU Woodward’s Cultural programs and the Surrey campus, the event will include a live interview with the Oscar-nominated screenwriter, director and producer, prior to the screening of two films – Heaven on Earth and Earth.
Indira Prahst, past and acting chair of Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Langara College and board member of the South Asian Film Education Society, will moderate the session.
Considered one of the most provocative and exciting new directors to make her mark on world cinema at the turn of the millennium, the Toronto-based filmmaker is known for her rich, complex explorations of the cultural taboos and tensions at play in the society of her native India.
Beginning with the controversial film Fire in 1996, Mehta embarked on her ambitious trilogy of the elements: fire, earth and water. Earth, the trilogy’s second instalment, was released in 1998.
Born in India in 1950, Mehta received a degree in philosophy from the University of New Delhi. After immigrating to Canada in 1973, she embarked on her professional cinematic career as a scriptwriter for children’s films, and in 1991, she made her feature-film debut as a director and producer with Sam & Me.
Heaven on Earth a.k.a. Videsh is a 2008 Canadian film directed and written by Mehta. Preity Zinta plays the leading role of Chand, a young Indian Punjabi woman who finds herself in an abusive arranged marriage with an Indo-Canadian man, played by actor Vansh Bhardwaj. The film was released in India dubbed into Hindi under the title Videsh.
Earth, which was adapted from Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel, Cracking India, premiered at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival. It was set amongst the catastrophic turmoil that accompanied the 1947 partition of India from Pakistan.
Mehta’s films have received significant awards and recognition at major film festivals and have been distributed around the world.
In 2012, Mehta received a lifetime Artistic Achievement Award for Film from the Governor General of Canada. In 2013, she was appointed to the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada for her work.
This year’s VIFF will feature Mehta’s latest film Beeba Boys, Vancouver’s answer to Goodfellas.
VIFF takes place in Vancouver until Oct. 9 at various venues, including 80 screenings at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. For more information, visit www.viff.org
Monday’s SFU Surrey event begins at 6:30 p.m.