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Short Film ‘Kamali’ Based On Skateboarding Girl And Her Mother From Tamil Nadu Wins US Prize

  • IWB Post
  •  May 7, 2019

It was only last year when nine-year-old Kamali Moorthy caught the nation’s attention by becoming the first and the only girl skateboarder and surfer from Tamil Nadu. And now a film inspired by Kamali and her mother’s remarkable journey has won top honors at the Atlanta Film Festival.

A powerful story shot in the historic coastal town of Mahabalipuram outside Chennai chronicles the life of a single mother’s (Suganthi) fight for her daughter’s empowerment in India through skateboarding.

Suganthi is a fish seller, who after her marriage ended decided to educate and empower her talented daughter who excelled in skateboarding. It was Suganthi’s surfer brother’s friend, a skateboarder himself, who introduced Kamali to the sport by gifting her a skateboard.

Kamali’s story was filmed by Sasha Rainbow, a New Zealand-born filmmaker who had traveled to India to feature Kamali and other skateboarding girls for a video of a song “Alpha Female” by a UK-based band Wild Beasts. After watching Suganthi’s determination to support her daughter in living her dream, the filmmaker returned to make this documentary to tell her story to the world.

“Kamali’s story represents an incredible moment in India and shows how massive change can start with just one person. I believe Kamali’s mother Suganthi and others like her are heroes who should be celebrated for her bravery. I believe skateboarding is a symbol of going against the grain, standing boldly in front of society and taking ownership of one’s life,” shared Rainbow.

Speaking to NDTV, an ecstatic Suganthi on the response to the film shared, “My parents and the local community did not approve. They used to ask her life would be spoiled if she breaks her limbs. I want her to reach greater heights. She should not be like me with limited exposure.”

In addition, Kamali, who is gearing up for class fifth now, said, “I am happy. I want to achieve something big in skateboarding”.

The film, which has been garnering a lot of attention worldwide, had won the ‘Best Director Award’ at the Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival last year. It has also qualified for the 2020 Oscar shortlist.

H/T: NDTV

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