Indian Malaysian Filmmaker In US.
Indrani Kopal a Malaysian documentary filmmaker and a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship 2012 has six years of experience working as a multimedia journalist for Malaysiakini.com. She is currently completing her Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Studies and Production at Hofstra University in New York.
In 2010, she participated in The George Washington University Documentary Center’s International Emerging Filmmakers six-week fellowship program. She was so inspired to come back to do an MFA, that, she applied for a Fulbright scholarship. Indrani was the first filmmaker to receive a Fulbright scholarship in Malaysia.
“It took me 10 years to figure it out. All the choices that I made consciously and unconsciously, have led me here. I started off as a video lab technician at Limkokwing University when I was 20 years old. I moved on to become a TV presenter, but found my interest lies behind the camera rather than in front. I was producing TV programs for two years. When I left to further my studies, journalism found me. In 2006, I joined Malaysiakini, an online news agency in Malaysia as a video journalist. My immediate supervisor Shufiyan Shukur completely responsible for cultivating the interest in documentary filmmaking. Together, we produced many short documentaries in Tamil,” she said.
Indrani added, “in 2007, I produced and directed a documentary titled “She is My Son” based on the life of a transsexual named Suganya and her mother, Samsed. The documentary earned me recognition nationwide when it won the Freedom Film Festival (FFF) award 2007, Malaysia’s one and only documentary film festival organized annually by Pusat Komas. It was first independent documentary and I was amazed how it very well received. The film publicly screened in KL, Penang and Johor.”
“I see hope in every story I come across. Nothing pretentious. To each their own. I never ever try to be objective because, I believe there’s no such thing as being objective. When I point a camera, I’m making a statement, when I make an edit, I’m making a statement. So, all my films basically reflect my personal biases in them, whether others like it or not.”
The eldest of four for civil servant parents. Both her parents are retired school clerks and has two younger brothers and a sister whom she loves very much. Indrani Kopal was born in Bandar Baru Sentul and later moved to Wangsa Maju, Setapak and studied at the Hot Spring Girls School, Setapak. Since 21, Indrani has been working and living independently.
In 2011, she completed a bachelor’s degree in Open University Malaysia, where she was studying part time while working. Using her EPF savings, she manages to fund her degree and graduated with flying colors on December 2011.
“I hope I will be still actively making documentaries across the globe and passing the knowledge down to the younger generations of doc filmmakers. I try to live in the moment and as present as possible. Two years ago, I did not see myself leaving everything I worked so hard for to come here. But here I am. Life has been full of surprises for me and I have grown a custom to it now.”