Join us for a conversation with Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Deepa Mehta and Sri-Lankan actor, author, and singer Brandon Ingram discussing the film Funny Boy based on the novel by Shyam Selvadurai (available on multiple streaming platforms worldwide).
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This online public event is free and open to all but pre-registration is required. Click here to register for this event. The event will be held on Zoom.
Funny Boy is a moving look at a young man coming-of-age, negotiating transnational questions of tradition and culture, understanding his gender and sexual identity amidst the political strife and civil war in sri Lanka in the 1970s and 80s. Funny Boy follows Arjie from boyhood to his teens in Sri Lanka of the 70’s and 80’s. Raised in the elegant world of wealthy Tamils, a minority group in a largely majority Sinhalese country, Arjie loves dressing up like a bride for pretend wedding ceremonies with his girl cousins. Oblivious to the whispers between his parents and other relatives, Arjie cannot understand why they call him “funny,” though he knows it’s a “bad” thing. When his magnetic, free-spirited aunt Radha returns to the family home and embraces Arjie for all that he is, the two develop an unbreakable bond. As Arjie, Radha, and their entire family’s lives are irrevocably impacted by simmering tensions in their country that erupt into civil war, an indelible story about love, identity, and freedom unfolds.
Deepa Mehta is an Oscar nominated filmmaker whose work is celebrated on an international scale. Her emotionally resonating, award-winning films have played every major film festival, and been sold and distributed around the globe. Her films include the Elemental Trilogy: EARTH, FIRE, WATER, the final film of which received an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film. BOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD, HEAVEN ON EARTH and the epic adaptation of MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN – Salman Rushdie’s three- time Booker Prize winning novel. Her work challenges traditions and stereotypes and is always daring, fearless and provocative. It’s this spirit that saturated her last feature film, ANATOMY OF VIOLENCE. Deepa recently shot the pilot and second episode for the Netflix Original series, Leila, and is the Creative Executive Producer for the show. She also directed The Manager, the pilot episode of Little America for Apple TV.
Brandon Ingram is a Sri Lankan actor, author, and singer disguised as a communication strategist and creative director in Colombo. During his 13 years in theatre. Ingram has experimented with forms of storytelling that have been both devised and immersive. FUNNY BOY is his first feature film, and will be followed closely by a second titled Public Domain. With his first two novels, The Fairy Dance (2007) and Living Their Lie (2009), Ingram attempts to bring to light issues such as child sex tourism, and the social ignorance on sexual identity.
Chair: Dr J. Daniel Luther is a Teaching Fellow in Gender, Film and Media and co-founder of ‘Queer’ Asia.