Director BIO: Shetu Modi (THE PITS)

Director Biography – Shetu Modi

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Shetu Modi is a writer, director and editor based in Toronto. Her recent film Hot Air screened at Filmi, Toronto’s South Asian film festival, and the Cinematic Arts Festival in Los Angeles. She currently works at the Canadian Press as a video producer and editor.

 

Director Statement

 

Growing up, I participated in Indian folk and classical dance groups, ate Indian food almost every day, visited India with my parents and brother and spoke Gujarati to my grandmother, who often lived with us. I was so involved in cultural activities that it never occurred to me that I would ever be ashamed of the less showy and obvious aspects of my culture and the way I was raised. In university, things changed. When roommates learned how much my mom called, I was embarrassed and apologized even though I liked talking to her every day. I rudely asked my cousin why she still lived her parents at age 25, even though lots of South Asians live in multigenerational houses. I had an aversion to dating Indian guys – especially Indian guys who still had accents. I thought I was “allowed” to say things like “brown guys are creepy” because I’m brown.

The protagonist of the “The Pits,” Dhruvi, is an exaggerated version of my younger self. She’s more actively ashamed of being South Asian than I ever was, especially of the more overt aspects, but her character arc represents my progression from a little shame to total acceptance – and love – for my cultural background. It took me longer to come to this realization; I’m glad I (and Abhay) can help Dhruvi come to it very quickly – even in little ways, like through the acceptance of Indian food and the fact that her perspiration sometimes smells like curry, and in more significant ways, like overcoming xenophobia and internalized racism.

By femalefilmfestival

The irony of this festival is that its goal is to not be around in 5 years time. To eventually not be relevant because there is zero need to have a festival geared for female talent and female stories because the stories presented in Hollywood and around the world are a balanced showcase of the human experience from both sexes. Our goal is to achieve a lot of success and then fold into oblivion simply because there is no need for this festival. This festival was created by the FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival as a simple reaction to a strong need to showcase female talent from around the world in a more profound way. When putting together the weekly festival, the administration noticed a lack of a female presence in the stories being shown at the festival. A classic example and analogy to the frustration is how the festival noticed that even the smaller roles in a screenplay were written for a man to play. There was zero reason for this in many stories. How a police officer, or a political campaign manager, for example with 3-4 lines in a screenplay was a "HE" character. Why? And these are the screenplays written by the winners! The talented one who have obtained agents and have began/beginning their careers as a writer.

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