Private Project

KANAVU

An Indian American teenage girl discovers a newfound appreciation for her Indian culture with help from her deceased grandmother.

  • Duran Jones
    Director
    Five (2021), Hallelujah (2021), After That We Didn't Talk (2019)
  • S. Lakmé Iyengar
    Writer
  • Venk Potula
    Producer
    Veep (2017), Wild 'N Out (2014-2019), The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2013)
  • Nagee Brown
    Producer
    The Cellist (2021), Hallelujah (2021)
  • Anika Kokatay
    Key Cast
    "Vidya"
  • Mita Vyas
    Key Cast
    "Malini"
  • Sharayu Mahale
    Key Cast
    "Indra"
  • s. Lakmé Iyengar
    Cinematography
  • Rachel Johnson
    Production Design
  • Jessica Petersen
    Editing
  • Ashwin Subramanian
    Music
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 9 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 1, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
    35mm
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    Yes - American Film Institute Conservatory
Director Biography - Duran Jones

Duran is a 2007 graduate of Hampton University, with a BA in Broadcast Journalism. He is an accomplished independent rapper and songwriter with a keen sense of storytelling. In 2017, he completed his first short film titled BLKMGC, an urban musical based on the shooting death of Tamir Rice at the hands of police. Duran is also known for his 2011 tribute to Trayvon Martin and his subsequent interview on CNN.

Now a graduate of The American Film Institute Conservatory, his goal is to tell stories for people of color that are truthful and impact the global community. While studying at AFI he graduated from the 2020 PGA Power of Diversity workshop, where his pilot “Daywalker” received interest from Mary Parent, Gary Lucchesi, and Prentice Penny. Duran was also selected as a 2021 Sundance Feature Film Producers Lab Fellow with the script "The Incredible Heist of Hallelujah Jones" written by Victor Gabriel.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

From the Creator/ Cinematographer, Lakmé Iyengar
This story touches on the idea that tangible objects from the past reconnect us to history and where we come from. I’m a first-generation Indian-Australian, and like anyone that has grown up between two cultures, I have spent much of my life trying to bridge this cultural gap and find where I belong.

Wearing a sari is something that has allowed me to connect to my culture in a more meaningful way, and is a garment that can be passed down through generations. The women in my family, like the three women in the film, all have connections to the sari despite generational differences. It was also important to me to tell a story that reflects a positive outlook regarding the first-generation experience and the beauty that comes from accepting all parts of one’s identity.

Director
As an African-American, I was forced to carry the burden of "the hyphen" as the prefix to my nationality. Never would I be capable of being seen as just “American.” As I matured, I had to learn to navigate both sides of the hyphen. The side of me that was too African to be considered American and the side too American to be considered African. A black man, born with an identity crisis.

Vidya’s story is my story. A slightly rebellious teen who refuses to connect with their heritage for fear of becoming ‘othered.’ However, our unique identity is what makes us human, and our ancestors make that identity inseparable from who we are. Their dreams (KANAVU) are realized in our identity and that lesson is passed down through generations. Coming before us and existing after us.