Dubai documentary filmmaker leads Cannes charge

Dubai documentary filmmaker Soniya Kirpalani has been invited to this year's Cannes Film Festival to discuss the making of her film 'Threads of Tradition'.
Dubai-based filmmaker Soniya Kirpalani.
Dubai-based filmmaker Soniya Kirpalani.

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Dubai resident and producer of Sprocket Science Films Soniya Kirpalani, who won the MipDoc Co-Production Challenge at Cannes 2008 for her four-series documentary dubbed Threads of Tradition, has been invited by Cannes this year to speak about the making of the doco and some of the challenges she faced in pursuing this project.

Last year, Kirpalani along with several other contestants from different parts of the world, pitched their film projects to the jury at Cannes. Threads of Tradition won hands down. Each series of the four-part documentary would take the viewer to a different country in Asia or the Arab world.
 
The docos decry the current state of the fashion industry in the Arab and Asian world, where clothes are manufactured, exported to foreign countries, re-imported and sold back to them at 200 percent markups.
 
The documentary then shadows a few leading design icons in these countries, namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the UAE, who challenge this situation and fight to create an indigenous industry.
 
Kirpalani will screen two-minute promos of her films as a tribute to Cannes, which won her international fame and opened doors for her to make her documentaries.
 
“As neither the UAE nor India, where I hail from, has co-funding treaties, I could not access the prize money,” Kirpalani points out. “However, winning the award at Cannes opened a lot of doors for me. Several government organisations gave me permission to shoot in their countries. Colombo especially gave me access to its archives and cultural information.”

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