Reema Sengupta is not afraid of her traumas. "I would say treasure your traumas," the Indian filmmaker says. "Fill them up in a little box and keep them very preciously because as you grow older, that's the kind of bank of emotional experiences that you're going to need to speak to the world."
Reema unlocked that little box when she wrote, directed and edited her short film Counterfeit Kunkoo, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2018, making it the first Indian fiction short to be selected in 16 years. Counterfeit Kunkoo has since won multiple awards and represented India at over 100 international film festivals, including Globetrotter Lab's inaugural Asia Africa Film Festival (AAFF) in Jakarta, Indonesia.
We met Reema during the course of the festival, which was held on April 24-28, 2019 at Silver Screen. Following the screening of Counterfeit Kunkoo at the second day of AAFF, Reema talked more about the film at the Director’s Q&A session, hosted by Hera Diani, the Managing Editor of Magdalene, the only feminist magazine in Indonesia. Here, she revealed that Counterfeit Kunkoo, which follows a divorced Indian woman as she struggles to find a home, was actually inspired by her mother’s real-life experiences.
“Because if you don’t tell your story, who’s going to?“ she reasons in an interview with Globetrotter. She also encouraged her fellow female filmmakers, especially in Asia, to be brave despite the blatant sexism in the industry. “I’m here to tell you that things are changing in a big, big way,” she says. “And the more of us that are around, the safer and more conducive the environment is, for more of us to come in in the future as well. So it’s really important that we take our steps.“
Watch the video above!