TEDx Delthorne Women: Filmmaker Reaa Puri speaks on 'When Women Of Colour Thrive'

Updated: Jan 22, 2019, 08:59 IST | The Hitlist Team

Born to a Sikh family of refugees, artists-entrepreneurs, Reaa Puri, in her seven-minute talk deliberated on being unaware of "my privilege, my privilege of being lighter skinned, able bodied, being a cisgendered woman, having financial stability"

Reaa Puri
Reaa Puri

Stories that spark emotion are those that are most successful at informing and moving people to think, and hopefully, act. Today, more than ever, diverse stories starring women matter.

On Sunday night, YouTube released a video of TEDx Delthorne Women featuring filmmaker Reaa Puri, 24, who spoke on When Women Of Colour Thrive, with a call for collective liberation. "For all of us with privilege, let's update our titles. From allies to co-conspirators because when women of colour thrive, when the most marginalised in our communities thrive, everyone thrives," said Puri, who is fashion designer Pria Kataria Puri's daughter.

Born to a Sikh family of refugees, artists and entrepreneurs, Puri, in her seven-minute talk deliberated on being unaware of "my privilege, my privilege of being lighter skinned, able bodied, being a cisgendered woman, having financial stability", and about finding a place to belong since she grew up between Mumbai, Delhi and Kuwait. She finally found her calling as a filmmaker and gained a degree in film from University of California.

But ambition and reality are two different worlds, and Puri soon realised the film industry is a "boys' club". The USC study that analysed 1,100 films over 11 years found out that only 43 women worked as directors. For women of colour, it was worse - only four black women, two Asian and one Latin American woman worked as directors in over 1,100 films. That's seven women of colour in total. That's less than one per cent.

The figures were loud and clear, and the opportunities bleak. "And as much as the world was telling me that I don't belong in this industry, my mom showed me that if what you want does not exist, that just means you have to create it yourself," she adds.

That's how Breaktide Productions was born, a women-of-colour-owned production company. Indian born Puri, African American Alex J. Bledsoe and Jalena Keane-Lee, who is Asian, came together for this enterprise. "We know our freedoms are intertwined, and we settled on this name because we are on the mission to disrupt and democratise storytelling," Puri said. "In case you are wondering how do you thrive in a world that wasn't created for you to survive in? Well you don't. You create a new one. And this new world is being built as we speak, the question is: will you join us."

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