Sonali Gulati is an independent filmmaker, a feminist, grass-roots activist, and an educator. She is an Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Photography & Film. She has an MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University and a BA in Critical Social Thought from Mount Holyoke College. Ms. Gulati grew up in New Delhi, India and has made several short films that have screened at over three hundred film festivals worldwide.
Her films have screened at venues such as the Hirshhorn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and at film festivals such as the Margaret Mead Film Festival, the Black Maria Film Festival and the Slamdance Film Festival. Gulati’s award-winning documentary, Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night, was broadcast on television in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, The Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.
Her most recent film I Am has won 12 awards and continues to exhibit extensively in the film festival circuit. Gulati has won awards, grants, and fellowships from the Third Wave Foundation, World Studio Foundation, the Robert Giard Memorial Fellowship, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship, the Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), VCU School of the Arts Faculty Award of Excellence and most recently a grant from the Creative Capital Foundation.
As a South Asian woman living in the United States, I have found myself keenly
interested in the politics of “representation” in mass media. I find myself drawn to
the kind of self, subject, and subjectivity portrayed in film. These are issues that
I have grappled with and continue to explore in my own creative work.
I am most interested in making films that create a stronger presence for diverse,
under-represented, and silenced voices. My work fuses art and politics from a place
of passion for activism and determination towards social change. I often ask myself:
Why this film? Or more importantly: Why am I making this film? As a result, my work is
driven by deeply personal motivations that strive to strengthen the connection between
my self and my work as a filmmaker.
As for content, I am particularly interested in working on issues of identity, in exploring
not just neatly defined categories of race, class, gender, and sexuality but more the
intersections, overlaps, and spaces in between these categories. This approach
translates itself into decisions in formal aesthetic choices too.
I find myself questioning, pushing, and crossing boundaries of genre (as a form) by
mixing traditional “documentary” with “fictional narratives” or even making the “fictional”
aspect of “documentary” more transparent. More recently, I have been toying with a
layered approach of telling and re-telling “a story” from multiple points-of-views aiming to
stretch “representations” into “re-presentations”. Ultimately, my goal is to not only find
innovative ways of storytelling, but also to create films as organizing tools, in the hope of
making this a safe, sustainable, and just world.
VCU School of the Arts
Department of Photography & Film
· Sonali Gulati · VCU School of the Arts · Department of Photography & Film·
· P.O.Box 843088 · Richmond, VA-23284-3088· USA·email@example.com·
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