Deepa Dhanraj is a researcher, writer, director, and producer living in Bangalore, South India. She has produced and directed numerous award-winning documentaries, ‘Something Like a War’ (1991), ‘The Legacy of Malthus’ (1994), ‘Sudesha’ (1983), ‘Nari Adalat/Women's Courts’ (2000), ‘What Has Happened to This City?’ (1986), ‘The Advocate’ (2007), and ‘Invoking Justice’ (2011). She has a special interest in education and pedagogy and has created special video materials to address challenges faced by first generation learners.
She has been actively involved with the women's movement since 1980. Over the last few years, she has participated in workshops, seminars and discussion groups on various issues related to women's status – political participation, health and education. She has taught video to women activists from South-East Asia. She was one of the lead researchers on a multi-centred research study, ‘Minority Women Negotiating Citizenship’.
Her films include ‘We are Still Working’ (2013), ‘The Forgotten Generation’ (2013), ‘The First Step’ (2009), ‘Where is the Monsoon’ (2009), ‘Enough of this Silence’ (2008), ‘Chaitanya’ (2008), ‘Jeevan Jyothi’ (2008), ‘Hello English’ (2007), ‘Bade Nirale Log’ (2007) and ‘Love in the time of AIDS’ (2006). She also produced and directed a number of series such as ‘Young Historians’ (2005), ‘Young Scientists’ (2004), a series of 30 films called ‘English Around Us’ (2004) for the Regional Institute of English, South India, and three films for Training of Panchayat Raj members and produced by the ANSSIRD, Mysore (2003).
Her other works include ‘Taking Office’ (2001); ‘Avva buwa katha’ (1999),’Paatakke Modalu… or Before we begin the lesson…’ (1998-99), ‘Time to Listen’ (1996), ‘Itta Hejje Mundakka Thegiya Bediri Hindakka’ (1995), ‘Disability in Your Eyes’ (1993), ‘Girija’ (1992), and ‘We Speak’ (1989).
She participated as a panellist in ‘Cine Mama’, a documentary produced for Channel 4 Television, UK, by Parminder Vir and directed by Anne Ross Muir. She has taught video at an intensive workshop for women activists from South East Asia, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangaladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and India and has three documentaries for the Centre of Advancement of Rural Technology and Peoples Action.
‘Many ways to God’, ‘Modern Brides’, ‘Sudesha’, ‘Idhi Katha Matramena’, ‘Tambakoo Chaakila Oob Ali’, and ‘Molkarin’ (Maid Servant) are some of her other early films. She founded Yugantar, a film collective, in 1980 and as a collective member directed three films on various aspects of women's struggles.
In 1993, she won the Best Long Documentary Award at Films De Femmes - Creteil, France. The previous year, she won the Swiss Television Award at the Festival International Du Film Documentaire Nyon, Switzerland. Her first international award came in 1984 where she won an award at the International Short Film Festival Liepzig, Germany.
She was recently selected for the IDFA, Amsterdam, and has participated in various film festivals, including One World International Human rights Festival Prague, Doc Point Helsinki, Bollywood and Beyond, Germany, The International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala, The Human Rights Film Festival, Mexico City, The INKO Women's film
festival, Chennai, The NY Asian International Film festival in New York, Ladies in the City/film festival, Monaco, The Bir Duino Human Rights film Festival, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, The Hawaii International film festival in Hawaii, The One World festival in Bratislava, Slovakia, The Femmes en resistance Festival in Paris, and the International Association of Women in Radio and Television festival in India.