Patron of La Fabrique Cinéma de l'Institut français 2019
I was at Cannes for the world premiere of my film Salaam Bombay! [in 1988] - we won the Audience Award and the Golden Camera Award. I remember so many things about that film, but most of all that it was a life-and-death situation. It was almost impossible to make; we had no money. We would shoot all day and for every shot, we would have at least a thousand people watching the shoot. I would come home tired, to my flat, which I shared with several cast and crew members who also didn’t have a place to go at night. It was like a railway station. I would be up all night, on the phone with financers and producers trying to raise money, sometimes for the next day of shooting.
Fast forward to today - to have films and artists from places like Bangladesh, Rwanda, India, Tunisia and so many others is exciting. For me to be able to share with them what I know of this life, to mentor them, help and support them in their journey of film making, is something I am thrilled to be doing at La Fabrique 2019. It is important to enrich world cinema and empower visionary artists to share their stories because if we don't tell our own stories then no one else will.
Mira Nair is an Academy Award nominated director best known for her films Salaam Bombay! (Camera d’Or, Cannes Film Festival 1988), Mississippi Masala, The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding which won the Golden Lion and a BAFTA and became one of the highest grossing foreign films of all time, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist awarded the German Film Award for Peace. Her recent film is Queen of Katwe for Disney starring Academy Award winning actor Lupita Nyong’o. Nair's acclaimed film Monsoon Wedding (2001) was brought to the stage recently as a highly anticipated musical at Berkeley Repertory Theater where it closed an extended, sold-out run in 2017. She is the director of BBC's forthcoming adaptation of A Suitable Boy, to be released in 2020. An activist by nature, Nair founded Salaam Balak Trust for streetchildren in 1989, and the Maisha Film Lab in East Africa in 2004, a free school to train film makers in the African continent. She was awarded the Padmabhushan in 2014 for her work in the arts.