Mira Nair gets fellowship from Ford Foundation

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NEW YORK – Indian American filmmaker Mira Nair has received an Art of Change Fellowship from the Ford Foundation.

Nair was born and raised in Rourkela, India and attended Delhi University as well as Harvard University. She began her career as an actress before becoming a documentary filmmaker.

Her debut film in 1988, “Salaam Bombay!” won the Caméra d’Or and was nominated for an Academy Award for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film.’

The foundation notes that Nair is a “resourceful and determined independent filmmaker who casts unknowns alongside Hollywood stars,” and has made many good films, including; “Mississippi Masala,” “The Perez Family,” “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love,” “Hysterical Blindness,” “Vanity Fair,” “The Namesake,” “Amelia” and “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.”

Her most recent film, “Queen of Katwe” which came out last year, starred Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo and is based on the true story of the Ugandan chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi and her most acclaimed film, “Monsoon Wedding” ran as a musical at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California, where it was continually sold-out, this past summer.

According to the foundation, Nair received a Padma Bhushan award in 1998 while she used the profits from “Salaam Bombay!” to create the Salaam Baalak Trust, which works with street children in India and in 2005, established the Maisha Film Lab in Kampala, Uganda, a non-profit training initiative for emerging East African filmmakers.

The Art of Change Fellowships supports visionary artists and cultural leaders who create powerful works of art that help advance freedom, justice and inclusion along with strengthening democracy.

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