Oscar-winning "Smile Pinki" director eyes change through film

Wed Jun 3, 2009 12:22am EDT
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By Rituparna Bhowmik

NEW DELHI (Reuters Life!) - A short film about a poor Indian girl with a cleft lip fetched filmmaker Megan Mylan her maiden Oscar this year, and now she can't wait to do more films that could help improve people's lives.

Her 39-minute "Smile Pinki" documentary shows how the life of its outcast heroine, Pinki Sonkar, changes after she is taken to a hospital that provides free surgery to fix the deformity for thousands of children.

The film also helped increase awareness about the condition, gave Sonkar the chance of a better education and brought improvements to her remote village.

The documentary premieres on HBO channel on Wednesday and director Mylan told Reuters from San Francisco that she is planning a limited release of the film in five Indian cities.

Q: How has life changed for you after the Oscar?

A: "It has sort of turned it upside down but probably not in the way people would expect. Career-wise it's not a game changing thing. Documentary film making is such a small field anyway. I'm not swamped with offers and I'm not terribly surprised either - it's a wonderful recognition of the fact that I'm not lousy at what I do."

Q: How did people react after you won the Oscar?

A: "I have had people reaching out who I've known from all walks of my life. I feel like I had this tremendous embrace from people reaching out to say 'we're so happy for you'. I'm still in the afterglow period."   Continued...