Writer/producer/director Gurinder Chadha, best recognized for films such as BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM and VICEROY'S HOUSE, is known for taking stories from underrepresented communities and bringing them firmly into the spotlight. Hear how she uses pop culture to tell narratives featuring people of color while finding mainstream success.
Key Insights

  • Using popular culture references can be a good entry point for global storytelling. In BEND It LIKE BECKHAM, David Beckham's skill is the inspiration for Jess' aspirations to become a world class soccer player - but it’s Jess’s desire to be a soccer player that serves as the central conflict for the story.
  • The key to using a pop culture reference is making it feel real and integrated into the story you’re telling. In BLINDED BY THE LIGHT, the story was crafted to make it feel that the Bruce Springsteen’s songs were written for the film - and not used as just background music.
  • Your stories can feature people of color and still be commercially successful. A film about genuine characters with a relatable storyline can resonate worldwide.
  • Comedy can be a great way to tap into the emotional truths and authenticity of your characters while still making a social impact. Serious topics don’t always have to be presented in “earnest” ways - know that storytelling gives you an opportunity to celebrate the characters and their world.
  • A filmmaker has to be receptive to creative feedback, but filtering out racist or sexist comments in reviews is equally important. Know your story, understand your choices, be clear about your motivations and fight for your vision.
  • Make big stories that are important to you no matter how small they might seem to others.


Gurinder Chadha is one of the UK’s most respected filmmakers with a successful track record in directing award-winning films which are international box office successes.

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