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Deepa Mehta

Controversies over her last couple of films like Fire and Water hasn't stopped this gutsy filmmaker from bouncing back with more powerful scripts.
PTI | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON AUG 03, 2004 07:38 PM IST
Born in 1950 in Amritsar, India, this Toronto-based director has earned international attention with her films. Deepa Mehta received a degree in philosophy from the University of New Delhi. She began her cinematic career writing scripts for children's films.

In 1991, Mehta produced and directed her first feature film Sam & Me, the poignant story of an unlikely friendship between two men, both outcasts of sorts, who form a deep and permanent bond despite the fact that neither is welcome in the other's world.

Sam & Me won the very first Honorable Mention by the Critics in the prestigious Camera D'Or category in the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.

In 1992, she directed a one hour episode of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, (the adventures of Indiana Jones as a boy) produced by George Lucas for ABC television. "Benares" was filmed on location in Benares, India.

In 1993, Mehta directed her second feature film, Camilla, a Canadian / UK co-production starring (the late) Jessica Tandy and Bridget Fonda. Other cast members included Elias Koteas, Maury Chaykin, Graham Greene and Hume Cronyn. It was shot on location in Toronto, Ontario and Savannah, Georgia. Camilla had a world-wide release early in 1995.

Mehta directed the final episode of George Lucas' Young Indiana Jones Chronicles in 1994. The MOW, "Travels with Father," was shot on location in Prague, C.R. and Greece.

Fire, Mehta's third feature film, based on an original screenplay, was written, directed and produced by Mehta. Fire opened the Perspective Canada Program at the 1996 Toronto International Film Festival, where it tied with Fly Away Home for the Air Canada Peoples Choice Award. It was one of twenty-nine films selected from over 1400 entries, world-wide, for the prestigious New York Film Festival. At the Vancouver International Film Festival, Fire won the Federal Express Award for Best Canadian Film as chosen by the audience. At the Chicago International Film Festival, it won two Silver Hugo Awards for Best Direction and Best Actress. In Mannheim, Fire won the Jury Award and in Paris, it was voted Favorite Foreign Film. Fire has currently been sold to 30 countries and had its North American release on August 22, 1997, followed by releases in Europe, Australia and India in September, 1997.

Earth, based on Bapsi Sidhwa's critically acclaimed novel, Cracking India, is the second film in Mehta's trilogy of the elements, Fire, Earth and Water. Earth was shot in New Delhi, India, in January of 1998. It had its World Premiere as a Special Presentation at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival where it was received with a standing ovation and critical acclaim. Earth won the Prix Premiere du Public at the Festival du film asiatique de Deauville, France in March, 1999 and the Critics' Award at the Schermi d'Amore International Film Festival, Italy in April of the same year. Currently, Earth has been sold to 22 countries and will be released in Europe and India in August, 1999 and in North America in September, 1999.

Water, the third film in the trilogy is scheduled for production in 2000.

Filmography
Water (2004/I) (filming)
Republic of Love, The (2003)
Bollywood/Hollywood (2002)
Earth (1998)
Fire (1996)
Camilla (1994)
Sam & Me (1991)
Martha, Ruth & Edie (1988)
At 99: A Portrait of Louise Tandy Murch (1975)
Coldwater (2005)

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