Deepa Mehta, the Indian-born, Canadian-based director, has taken on the elements both onscreen—with her feature trilogy comprised of 1996’s Fire, 1998’s Earth and 2005’s Water (nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film)—as well as off screen, with members of the Hindu community protesting the subject matter and Hindu depiction within the director’s movies. But recently she’s found some much-deserved peace and praise as Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television (SFTV) announced their plan to award the director with the 2008 Infinite Power of Story Lifetime Achievement Award at the school’s annual Film Outside the Frame Festival on October 13 at the Directors Guild of America.
The festival, with its wide array of categories being critiqued by an esteemed panel of judges which include moviemaker Jason Matzner (Dreamland) and studio executive/producer Joe Pichirallo (Lakeview Terrace), showcases the best SFTV student work from the past year and gives the school a chance to bring its mission to life in highlighting diverse works of visual storytelling based in humanism.
For Teri Schwartz, Dean of SFTV, this was one of the biggest reasons Mehta was given the award. “Deepa Mehta is one of the most significant and important humanistic writer-directors working in film today,” she states. “Her remarkable and distinctive films perfectly mirror SFTV’s vision for visual storytelling grounded in humanism, innovation and diversity. We are delighted to acknowledge such a superbly gifted artist and her body of work, along with our extraordinary student filmmakers.”
So, with the wind carrying Mehta’s brilliantly original sail through these dark and dangerous waters known as moviemaking, it looks as though the director has mastered yet another element.