'I shot 10 hours for 10 minutes'

Quite unabashedly she says, “I could be doing your job,” and Metrolife wonders what would have been its fate if this hard-hitting filmmaker had chosen to stick to journalism! A sample of her trenchant approach is her short film Smile Pinki that makes American director Megan Mylan a popular face in India.

To her, it’s a very “organic obligation” to create cinematic works on socially-relevant issues but “If I am able to help people feel connected to a story and through that make them aware of a common good, I feel my goal is fulfilled,” says Mylan.

In India recently to promote her new documentary, After My Garden Grows, the Oscar-winning director says that filmmaking provides her with more time to research. “I am amazed to see journalists produce stories under pressure. I need more time to research and making films allows me that,” says Mylan who has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California. “But it wasn’t due to my journalism that I real­ised my passion to make socially-relevant films. When I started out, I thought I am showing the truth but now I am mature enough to understand that there is no one truth! While working on a tribe in Brazil, I started loving the work I was supporting and thought filmmaking would be a way to be able to immerse myself with not just one tribe but different people.”

Soon she directed Lost Boys of Sudan and recently After My Garden Grows. The latter is about a young girl Monika, who deals with the issues of early marriage and lack of education. “I shot 10 hours for 10 minutes. It is challenging to make people feel confused but not unsatisfied,” says the documentary-maker who organised a special screening of the film for Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao during her India trip.

“They are generous people and agreed to do this very quickly,” she says about the couple. “I can’t imagine there is a filmmaker who lets the spotlight not be on him. I have watched all episodes of Satyamev Jayate. We don’t have anything of this in my country. It was a privilege to share my little story with them,” adds Megan.    
But talk about cinema taking responsibility to make society aware about the issues and the director objects. “It’s dangerous to the art form to burden it to always be a form of action. If people get motivated by a story it’s great,” she says informing about her next destination Japan. “I am filming the service exchange system in Japan which ensures everyone is taken care of in the modern world.”

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