This weekend, I attended my first film festival as a filmmaker. Magho (Daughter) -- the short documentary for which I was co-director, director of cinematography and editor -- was shown at the Asheville Cinema Festival in the mountains of North Carolina.
Magho (Daughter) follows 18-year-old Maheshwari during her last week of high school leading up to her graduation. She comes from India's "untouchable" caste and is the first person in her family to study past the eighth grade. In the 11 minute film, Mahesh reflects on her life at home, her future and her relationship with her mother.
My co-director (and the film's producer) Christen Brandt and I came down from New York and arrived the night before our screening. When we opened the local paper, The Asheville Citizen-Times, we found our film listed as one of the 10 films to see at the festival!
We really enjoyed seeing other films in the festival, and our only regret is that we missed films we really wanted to see because our schedule was packed!
Our film played in the first block of short documentary films, and we were able to answer questions from the audience about our experience. They were curious about the production process, how we'd selected Maheshwari as our star, and where we want to take the film next.
It was wonderful to introduce our film to a totally new audience and to present girls' education as a solution to global poverty. Maheshwari's story shows the power of education to transform a family. I'm so happy that we were able to bring Mahesh's voice to Asheville and share her strength, perseverance and compassion with a larger audience.