Viveka Melki - TIFF FILMMAKER LAB – 2021

This is a film adaptation of Jennifer Robson’s book. It is a story interwoven between moments of light and darkness, a narrative arc set between 1947 post-war London UK, and 2020 Toronto Canada. Post-War England is impoverished, and the awful truth of the Concentration camps is newly being revealed first-hand from survivors like MIRIAM DASSIN a Jewish embroiderer who has just arrived from the House of Dior in Paris. She is a survivor of a lesser known history of the Vél d'Hiv Roundup, the mass arrest of Jews by the French police in 1942. In London, Miriam meets ANN HUGHES who works for designer Norman Hartnell, the Royal family’s clothing designer making young Princess Elizabeth’s Wedding Gown. It is an inspiring and moving story of courage, resilience and the ‘After’; how we recover from trauma and war. It addresses the boundaries of racism and poverty, and reinforces the commonality of resilience. Amidst the greyness of post-War London, the rubble and the rationed food, there is what may seem to be, a frivolous Royal Wedding – and yet, a white dress, hope in the darkness. Ultimately this is a film about historic memory and how sometimes, even if we do not want to, we have to look back.

  • Viveka Melki
  • tbd
  • Debra Kouri
    cv can be provided (Producer The Bend, Happy Slapping, A Xmas Memory)
  • Andrew Johnson
    CV can be provided (Producer at CBC, History Channel, Gemini Award Winning)
  • Viveka Melki
    CV can be provided (Producer Time It Takes, Hippocrate, The Fence)
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    2 hours
  • Completion Date:
    June 11, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    5 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Canada, United Kingdom
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Viveka Melki

Born in The Gambia, West Africa, of Indigenous Brazilian and Lebanese descent, and educated in the United Kingdom before immigrating to Canada, Melki sees the world through a multicultural lens. She is the co-founder and producer at Tortuga Films (2006-2014) and was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 by the BSL Chamber of Commerce. She produced the series Hippocrate (RDI, TFO), the one-off Campesinos (RDI and TFO) and, in 2010, made her first short drama, the 11 minute The Time It Takes, which was nominated for a prize at the Regard sur le Court metrage Festival. In 2014, she started directing full time with the two-part series War Correspondence (Radio-Canada, RDI). Her feature-length documentary After Circus (2015) received acclaim after screenings at several North American film festivals, including The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival in Toronto and the Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal, as well as representing Canada at the prestigious Sunny Side of the Doc Festival in La Rochelle, France. After Circus is currently broadcast across Canada on CBC GEM and on Al Jazeera in the USA. In 2017, her unique research for her documentary Carricks: dans le sillage des Irlandais (Radio-Canada & RDI), about the Francophone-Irish diaspora, resulted in the discovery of an 1847 Irish immigrant mass grave on the Gaspé Peninsula. Melki’s more recent documentary, The FENCE, around the Battle of Hong Kong, aired in November 2020 on documentary Channel, and will stream in November 2021 on CBC GEM. Globe & Mail TV critic John Doyle called it, “Easily, one of the most powerful documentaries of the year.” Melki is currently working with the New Chapters Canada Council for the Arts on a docu-animation short, Alouette, about the Asia-Pacific experience during the Second World War. She is also developing Last Ones Standing, a documentary series from Canadian director Eric Brunt about the Second World War. She is currently working on two feature-length documentaries on sexual human trafficking in Canada, both for release in 2022.

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