Independent Filmmaker Goes on a Mission to Bring Inspiration to Kids One Movie at a Time

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A Los Angeles independent filmmaker is giving back in a major way. Sabina Shamdasani, an independent filmmaker, is giving copies of her film ‘Dada Ji’ away for free. Partnering with after school programs, Sabina hopes to inspire children to follow their dreams, just as she did.

Shamdasani (center), on the set of 'Dada Ji', a short family comedy starring Kumar Palllana (left)

I made this film as a graduate student at Chapman University, but the feedback I've received from audiences at film festivals has really inspired me to do more with the movie

In an effort to give back to the local community’s youth, one independent filmmaker does the unthinkable; she’s giving hundreds of copies of her movie away for free. ‘Dada Ji’, a family comedy that started out as a graduate school project for Sabina Shamdasani, an independent filmmaker, is now becoming a way to inspire young people to do what she did: follow her own dreams.

“I made this film as a graduate student at Chapman University, but the feedback I’ve received from audiences at film festivals has really inspired me to do more with the movie,” said Shamdasani.

Bringing Cinema to Kids” is a project started by Sabina to partner with local after school programs to teach Los Angeles youth how a film is made and more importantly, inspire them to do what they love and are passionate about.

“During a Q&A when ‘Dada Ji’ screened at Comicon in San Diego, a young girl asked me how hard it was to be a filmmaker,” said Shamdasani. “I started to realize two things: one, that this movie resonates with young people and two, maybe, through this movie and through my experience as an independent filmmaker, I can inspire them to pursue their goals and dreams in life.”

Deciding where to start didn’t come easy. After hours of contacting local organizations to peak interest in partnering with her, an idea was sparked. After-school programs were a great outlet and while the local school district’s budget raised concerns about cutting arts programs, she would do what she could to offer these youth something anyway.

“We want to meet the kids, screen the movie, allow them to ask questions and then give them each a copy of the DVD for free,” says Shamdasani. “I don’t know how many DVDs we’ll be giving away, it could be 50, or 100, or 500. But hopefully, by sharing my experiences from making this film, it will encourage a younger generation to do what they truly love.”

Shamdasani grew up in small community in North Carolina, where a career in the film industry was anything but realistic, even in her own mind. She hopes by sharing her small town tale and her challenges in getting her film made, she can inspire the kids to pursue their dreams no matter the obstacles.

“I’m not a big studio or a big Hollywood director, I’m barely out of graduate school. And it wasn’t that long ago that I thought being a filmmaker was an impossible dream. But now I’ve made some films, and I’ve gotten screened at festivals, and I’m really thankful that I’ve had enough encouragement and support around me to push me in the right direction. 'Bringing Cinema to Kids' is my way of giving back,” said Shamdasani.

Giving away free DVDs wouldn’t be possible without community support. Shamdasani hopes to create awareness of the 'htp://Bring Cinema to Kids' program in an effort to raise enough funds to keep the program going. So far, several Los Angeles based youth-arts programs have become very interested in working with Shamdasani.

“We’re starting in LA because that’s where I live and it’s a great hub for the arts. But I’d love to open up this program nationwide and seek youth-arts organizations around the country that want to see these kids do what they love,” said Shamdasani. “I just hope by screening my film, meeting my audience face to face, and giving them a tangible copy of the DVD, we’re able to create inspiration.”

If you are an individual or part of an organization that wants to get involved with ‘Bringing Cinema to Kids’ please visit, http://www.dadajimovie.com for more information.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook @dadajithemovie

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER:

Originally from North Carolina, Sabina Shamdasani moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film. She has produced and directed over 20 short films, commercials and music videos. In 2010, she directed a video for A.R. Rahman's Indo-Peace concert in Australia, which played live in front of 40,000 fans. Aside from filmmaking, Sabina was the host of The Angry Critic's Corner Show on DesiYou.com, covering movie reviews, film events, and interviewing various film personalities.

Sabina’s short film ‘Dada Ji’ has screened at numerous film festivals, including LA Shorts Fest, Comicon, Damah Spirituality Film Festival, Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival and was nominated in the “Best Short Film” category at the Danville International Short Film Festival.

Sabina is the recent recipient of Film Independent's Project:Involve Fellowship Program for 2010. She just completed production on an Indian-American dance fusion movie, called “Bollywood Invasion” headed for the film festival circuit later this year.

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