Leena Manimekalai is a poet and filmmaker committed to social justice. Her narrative documentaries on the dynamics of caste, gender, globalization, art therapy, student politics, eco-feminism, indigenous people's rights and LGBTQ lives have been internationally acclaimed and have won several awards in prestigious international film festivals and civil rights circuits.
Her debutant fiction Sengadal/the Deadsea won her NAWFF Award at Tokyo for the Best Asian Woman Cinema and also was recognized with prestigious Indian Panorama selections after the initial ban by CBFC that got cleared through several months of legal battle. One of her documentary “Goddesses” has won her Golden Conch at Mumbai International Film Festival and Nominations for Horizon Award in Munich and Asia Pacific Screen Award in Melbourne. "White Van Stories" an exclusive docu-feature on enforced disappearances on SriLanka was shot by her and won her accolades in platforms like Channel 4 and Aljazeera. Additionally, Leena has received the Charles Wallace Art Award(2012) in Visual Ethnography, the EU Fellowship(2005) in Media and Conflict Resolution and the Commonwealth Fellowship(2009) for her work in Cinema and Gender.
Her latest short documentary "Is it too much to ask" on the quintessential journey of two trans artists Smiley and Glady, co-produced by NHK, Japan is currently doing a big run in the international film festival circuit winning her the Best Documentary Prize at Singapore South Asian Film Festival and Jury Mention at Film South Asia, Kathmandu.
Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better. As a country, we have everything from secular values to free thinking to compassion to plurality to tolerance.We can be flawed but we can't be failed.Let us get better with our every step towards true freedom.Happy Independence day.