Panel: Gender and Sexuality in Independent Films

Panelists: Gayatri Gopinath, Sonali Gulati, Pratibha Parmar, Veena Sood. Moderator: Sandip Roy

Panel discussion will focus on representations of LGBT South Asians in independent films with a comparative analysis to such representations in more popular forums such as Bollywood cinema. We chose the panelists particularly because of their unique experience with and immersion in films that give voice to women and sexual minorities. The moderated discussion will allow ample opportunity for the audience to dialogue with panelists via questions and comments. Our goals for this discussion are for our audience to gain a greater understanding of the challenges of cinema that dares to highlight the human condition of women, transgendered persons and other sexual minorities, and to appreciate the complex and rich diversity of such cinema.

ISAFF 2008


Gayatri Gopinath: Gayatri Gopinath is an Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. Her work in queer studies, popular culture and the South Asian diaspora has appeared in numerous articles and anthologies, most recently in the Blackwell Companion to LGBT Studies (2008). She is the author of Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Duke UP, 2005).

Sonali Gulati: Sonali Gulati is an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Photography & Film. She has an MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University and a BA in Critical Social Thought from Mount Holyoke College. Ms. Gulati’s areas of specialization are film production and experimental filmmaking. Before moving to Richmond, VA, she taught film production, film analysis, and international cinema at Temple University. Ms. Gulati has made several short films that have screened at over two hundred film festivals worldwide including Canada, United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She has won awards and grants from foundations such as the Third Wave Foundation and the World Studio Foundation.

Pratibha Parmar: British filmmaker Pratibha Parmar has spent more than 20 years behind the camera bringing fresh perspectives to stories of women, minorities and social issues. Her award-winning work has been exhibited widely at international film festivals and broadcast in many countries. Nina’s Heavenly Delights, her award winning debut feature film debut was released in the UK and US in 2006/7. Born in Kenya, of Indian decent, Parmar moved with her family to England at a young age. Following university in England, she began her filmmaking career with documentary shorts as a way to express her passion in representations of subjects and issues not in the mainstream. In 1991 her career reached a critical turning point with the release of A Place of Rage, a documentary about African-American’s women role in the civil rights movement. The film received international critical acclaim and was named Best Historical Documentary by the National Black Programming Consortium in the U.S. Her other documentary credits include The Righteous Babes, A Brimful of Asia, and the award-winning Khush. Drama credits include Sita Gita, Wavelengths and Memsahib Rita. In 1993, Parmar released her most challenging and inspirational film to date. Warrior Marks, which documented ritual female mutilation in Africa, came at a time when the subject was still taboo in the international community. The award-winning documentary was made in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker, the author of “The Color Purple.” Parmar has directed music videos and is the co-author and editor of several books. In October 2007, she was awarded the Visionary Award for her body of work from the One in Ten Film Festival, and she is a past winner of the San Francisco Frameline Film Festival Life Time Achievement Award.

Veena Sood: Veena Sood is an award-winning actress best known for her versatility in theatre, film, television, radio, improv comedy, and hosting throughout Canada and the U.K. She is of East Indian descent, having immigrated to Canada from Nairobi, Kenya at age 6. She studied Drama at The University of Calgary with Improv Guru Keith Johnstone, and went on to create The Loose Moose Theatre Company, best known for their development of the world renowned Theatresports. Veena has numerous theatre, film and television credits to her name. She’s been a series regular on 3 different TV shows, as well as being a featured performer at many theatre festivals including The Glasgow Comedy Festival, The Vancouver Comedy Festival and The Winnipeg Comedy Festival. She recently toured her one-woman improvised show to Glasgow & Edinburgh, where she travelled the moors and heath looking for a good vindaloo.


Sandip Roy: Sandip Roy is an editor with New America Media in San Francisco and host of its radio show UpFront on KALW 91.7 FM. He was the editor of Trikone, the world’s oldest South Asian LGBT magazine for over a decade. He is a commentator for NPR’s Morning Edition and contributes regularly to publications like San Francisco chronicle, India Currents, India Abroad, San Jose Mercury News, and Times of India. His work has appeared in anthologies like Men on Men, Contours of the Heart, Storywallah!, Q&A, A Part Yet apart – South Asians in Asian America, and Because I have a Voice. He has received awards from SAJA, NLGJA and the national federation of community broadcasters.

Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008, 12 PM