MUMBAI: The 33rd Toronto International Film Festival will screen the World Premiere of Yes Madam, Sir, a feature-length documentary about the life of India’s first female police officer Kiran Bedi.
Yes Madam, Sir will screen in the opening weekend of the festival. It is part of the Festival’s Real to Reel program, showcasing this year’s Top 20 finest non-fiction films in the world. www.tiff08.ca.
The film is written, directed and photographed by Australian filmmaker Megan Doneman, filmed over six years, edited from 500 hours of footage and often involving perilous international travel and situations. Academy Award winning actor Helen Mirren (The Queen) lends her voice as narrator of the film and composer Nathan Larson (2004 Cannes Film Festival Winner for The Woodsman) provides the score.
Asia Noble Prize winner, Bedi is adored by the masses and vilified by her critics. She has publicly fought high-level corruption, feudalistic bureaucracies and brutal opposition, all of which has come at great personal and professional cost.
Yes Madam, Sir follows this humanitarian for six years, presenting her in the most intimate and revealing light.
Despite having no industry funding or crew to produce the project, Doneman traveled alone to India in 1999 on a mission to meet the woman she had first read about when she was just 13 years of age. Attracted to Bedi’s extraordinary courage and intrigued by the inherent contradictions in her character, Doneman’s desire was to produce a world-class documentary that would profile Bedi in the most probing style possible.
Bedi, who had spent her life trying to achieve the impossible, was instantly intrigued as to how this young filmmaker was going to pull off the task. Already approached by many esteemed filmmakers, Bedi agreed to allow Doneman to exclusively tell her story. Filming began in 2001; an intensive process which saw Doneman assume the role of writer, director producer, cinematographer, sound recordist and editor.
As the size and significance of the project grew, private investors offered financial assistance. This enabled Doneman to complete the final stages of the production with the quality and integrity that she has pursued throughout her many years of experience in the film industry. Doneman soon found herself a participant in a journey that had grown in scale more quickly than she could have envisaged.
Doneman’s talents as a filmmaker were evident in 1998, with a self-made short film that won her the Classic Cinema Award for "Most Promising New Filmmaker" at the Pacific Queensland Film and Television Awards. She then went on to produce, direct, and write Till Morn’ Do Us Part, which was selected to screen at Tropfest’s, The Best of the Rest.
Proving to be the springboard for a career rich in diversity and depth, she was hired by Academy Award nominated editor Marcus Darcy, as a runner for the editing department on Alex Proyas’ Dark City. After just nine weeks, Megan was promoted to assistant editor on the recommendation of American editor, Dov Hoenig (Heat).