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Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta's film Water, a story about life in a widow's colony and set in India in 1938, is being screened and celebrated at several U.S. film events.

Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta is set to pick up another accolade for Water, the final, acclaimed instalment of her elements film trilogy.

On Tuesday, Mehta will receive the Freedom of Expression Award from the U.S. National Board of Review at a gala in New York.

She joins such distinguished filmmakers as Bernardo Bertolucci, Stephen Frears, Milos Forman and Michael Moore in receiving the award, which champions freedom of expression in filmmaking.

"It means a lot to me that people are recognizing the beauty of the film," the Toronto-based Mehta said on Monday.

Hindu fundamentalists angered by Mehta's previous films Fire and Earth initially forced the shutdown of Water's production in 2000. Mehta secretly began re-shooting the film in Sri Lanka in 2004.

Set in 1938 India during the rise of Mahatma Gandhi, Water tells the story of the inhabitants of an ashram, a colony where widows as young as eight years old are forced to live out their days in poverty.

This year, the movie is Canada's official submission to Academy Awards organizers for best foreign language feature consideration at the upcoming Oscars. The movie was recently named outstanding feature film at the Women's Image Network Awards.

Previously, Water opened the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, won best international film at the Bangkok International Festival in 2006 and scored three Genie Awards.

Mehta also to hit West Coast

After accepting the National Board of Review award in New York Tuesday, Mehta and producing partner David Hamilton will cross to the West Coast for morefilm events.

Hamilton will head to the Palm Springs Film Festival, where Water is scheduled to screen Tuesday and Friday. Mehta will attend the Critics' Choice Awards gala in Los Angeles on Friday, where Water will compete for the best foreign film title against Apocalypto, Volver, Letters from Iwo Jima, Pan's Labyrinth and Days of Glory.

Water grossed about $4 million at the U.S. box office and $2.2 million domestically.

With files from the Associated Press.