Geeta V. Patel is writer/director of the upcoming feature film Mouse. Patel made her directorial debut with the documentary war thriller Project Kashmir, which led to directing fellowships at Sundance and Tribeca. She started as a writer’s assistant in TV, then served as Associate Screenwriter for Universal Pictures, ABC, NBC, and Twentieth Century Fox on titles that include The Fast and the Furious and Blue Crush. Patel was recently a Visiting Artist in Belarus and Turkey as one of 29 filmmakers chosen for President Obama’s film delegation. (Official website for Meet the Patels)
GVP: Meet the Patels is a real-life, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy about Ravi Patel, an almost-30-year-old Indian-American who enters a love triangle between the woman of his dreams — and his parents. Filmed by Ravi’s sister [me] in what started as a family vacation video, this hilarious and heartbreaking film reveals how love is a family affair.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
GVP: I was actually running away from this story. It attacked me! It’s all my brother’s fault.
W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
GVP: The greatest challenge was working with my entire family (aunts, uncles, parents, brother) and getting lectures, advice, and constant commentary the entire time. Good times.
W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?
GVP: That relationships are the most magical things in our lives, and the great ones take a ton of work!
W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?
GVP: Same advice I’d give any director — make your films and don’t stop.
W&H: How did you get your film funded?
GVP: We were initially funded by the Hartley Film Foundation to create our pitch trailer and develop the concept. After that, ITVS came on as our broadcaster and main funder, along with the Center for Asian American Media, Tribeca Institute, Impact Partners, Chicken and Egg, Whitewater Films, Influence Films, and a slew of private investors.
W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.
GVP: Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County USA. The film is real and incredibly documented. However, what really inspires me is how the story is masterfully told in a way that stirs my emotions. I feel like when a film so filled with history and information can also make me feel so much, it stays with me forever.