From Concept to Production: Documentary Filmmaking in South Asia

Four filmmakers, four documentaries, four countries. What does it take to make a documentary film in South Asia both as first-time feature filmmakers and as women? How do you go from an idea to a film in production?

Hear from four Northwest directors with works in progress in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. Moderated by Laila Kazmi.

Amy Benson
Amy is the co-owner of Nonfiction Media, a production company in Seattle. She has shot and edited over 25 short films telling the stories of nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest, Africa and Asia. Her personal documentary short— Three: Impressions from the Struggle for Girls’ Education —following the day in the life of Nepali teens was the centerpiece of the UNIFEM Singapore film festival. She is currently in post-production for the documentary feature, The Girl Who Knew Too Much, about a poor Nepali family struggling to survive after their only educated child takes her own life.

Sushma Kallam
Sushma is descended from a long line of Indian farmers in villages close to the Krishna river in Andhra Pradesh state. During her childhood she lived for a year in the peaceful village dwelling of her grandparents, and has since returned there frequently. After earning an engineering degree in India she came to the US in 2001 to work. She became an independent IT consultant specializing in supply-chain management – optimizing incoming and outgoing raw materials and manufactured goods and services for international markets. In that world, she learned about the ways in which neoliberal economic development – “globalization” – was disrupting traditional rural life in India.

Cathy Stevulak
Cathy put on hold a career in international development when she was drawn to documentary film to tell a story of extraordinary women of Bangladesh.   She and her husband, Leonard Hill, a co-producing couple from Gig Harbor, Washington, have gathered together an award-winning team of filmmakers in Bangladesh, the United States and Canada who are dedicated to bringing socially inspiring stories to the screen.   Cathy has lived internationally for over 25 years, including two years in Bangladesh while working for the United Nations Development Programme.

Sarah Menzies
With a passion for the outdoors and social change, Sarah uses film to tell engaging stories that empower the viewer. She has been working as a freelance videographer and filmmaker since 2010, and founded the production company LET MEDIA in 2012. Sarah seeks personal and unique character driven stories that highlight the good that exists in the world, showing audiences that all are capable of creating positive change where they are most passionate. Her films have been seen in festivals such as Mountainfilm in Telluride, Banff Mountain Film Festival, Wild and Scenic Film Festival, and many more.

Laila Kazmi
Laila Kazmi is a Seattle-based writer and producer. Her articles have appeared in Pakistan’s daily Dawn, The Seattle Times, and Colorlines Magazine. Currently, Laila is a producer at Seattle’s PBS television station KCTS 9.

Her short film HeartWood: The Art of Humaira Abid will be showing in the festival.

Saturday, June 28, 2014, 4 PM