Spotlight Events feature conversations with high-profile film and television industry professionals who share helpful advice and insights on their career experiences and creative processes.


Mira Nair rose to fame with her Academy Award nominated first feature, Salaam Bombay! Since then, she has created groundbreaking, cross-cultural films including Mississippi Masala, which premiered at Sundance in 1992 and screened again as part of the 40th anniversary program, and Monsoon Wedding, a huge box-office success for which Nair was the first woman to win Venice Film Festival’s prestigious Golden Lion. Her other fiction films include The Namesake, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Vanity Fair, and Queen of Katwe. She recently directed Monsoon Wedding The Musical, which opened in New York City in May 2023 and is bound for Broadway. 


Nair is known for her intimate portrayals of characters and relationships not often seen on screen. She has directed several documentaries and is a prominent social activist. In 1988, Nair founded Salaam Baalak Trust for Indian street children. In 2004, she created the Maisha Film Lab in 2004, a free school to train filmmakers in Africa. She splits her time between Uganda and New York and has enjoyed a long and meaningful collaboration with producer Lydia Dean Pilcher. 


For this Spotlight Event, Nair will discuss working with actors, finding magic on set, and working internationally.


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Live event registration for Sundance Collab Spotlight Events is free of charge. A recording of this event will be posted to our Video Library the business day after the event and all members who registered can watch the recording for two business days after it is posted. After that, on-demand access to the recording can be purchased for $5.

Panelist
Academy-Award nominated film director Mira Nair is best known for her groundbreaking films that cross borders of all kinds: SALAAM BOMBAY! (Caméra D’or, Cannes 1988), the pioneering Asian-African romance MISSISSIPPI MASALA (1991), Golden Globe & Emmy-winning HYSTERICAL BLINDNESS (2001), and the international hit MONSOON WEDDING (2001), for which she was the first woman to win Venice Film Festival’s prestigious Golden Lion. Also known for her literary craftsmanship of subcontinental fiction, Mira has filmed THE NAMESAKE (2006), THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST (2012), VANITY FAIR (2004), A SUITABLE BOY (2020) and QUEEN OF KATWE (2016). Her most recent endeavor was directing MONSOON WEDDING THE MUSICAL, which opened in New York City in May 2023 and is bound for Broadway. Nair’s next film will be AMRI, an experimental portrait of Amrita Sher-Gil. more...
Moderator | Digital Course & Event Producer
Erica Elson is a Producer, Writer and Educator based in the mountains outside Los Angeles. Her short film, WING NIGHT, premiered at Method Fest in Los Angeles. She is the co-author of the book THE AWKWARD HUMAN SURVIVAL GUIDE and co-hosted a podcast by the same name on the 5by5 network for five years. Elson's articles have been published by HuffPost, Lifehacker, and Reader's Digest. Prior to working in education, she worked in television development and writers’ rooms such as VH1’s HINDSIGHT, where she had the chance to write for the spinoff web series PLANET SEBASTIAN. Elson joined the Sundance Collab team in October 2021 and produces courses, Master Classes, and events in the areas of screenwriting, television writing, directing, producing, and documentary filmmaking. She has moderated conversations with Sofia Coppola, Richard Linklater, Alexander Payne, and Susannah Grant, among others. Prior to Sundance, Elson was the Thesis Production Supervisor at the American Film Institute for five years. She oversaw several award-winning graduate thesis films, notably the 2021 BAFTA student film winner APART, TOGETHER and the 2023 Sundance Film Festival short WE WERE MEANT TO. While at AFI, Elson developed a passion for sustainable production and created the Green Film School Alliance, which includes forty schools on four continents. She holds a BA in Communication and Film Studies from Concordia University and an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. more...

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