'It requires a lot of courage': Deepa Mehta on the immigrant story at the centre of her first film

The journey that took Mehta from directing her 1991 debut feature "Sam & Me" to being the acclaimed filmmaker she is today wasn't always an easy one.

The stakes were high for the budding filmmaker as she released her 1991 debut 'Sam & Me'

In 1991 filmmaker Deepa Mehta spoke about the fears of directing her first feature film and how personal experience fueled her. 1:35

This Saturday on CBC Arts' film talk show The Filmmakers, we'll be bringing you Deepa Mehta's 2005 movie Water — but as she tells CBC TV host Valerie Pringle in this archive clip from 1991, the journey that took her from directing her debut feature Sam & Me to being the acclaimed filmmaker she is today wasn't always an easy one.

Sam & Me offered audiences their first glimpse at Mehta's powerful storytelling, and the stakes were high for her. "Really what scared me was that it was such a personal film," she told Pringle. "And it was such a personal vision that if it bombed, I would be totally responsible for it."

Thankfully, the movie resonated — largely because of the unique perspective it shared on the immigrant experience. "It's a story about cultural differences, prejudices, laughter — what happens to immigrants, really. I don't think we've ever seen a film like this. How do people reconstruct their lives when they leave their own country? It requires a lot of courage, and fortitude, I think."

Watch more of Deepa Mehta on The Filmmakers this Saturday at 10:00 p.m. (10:30 NT) on CBC Television, or stream it at After the episode, stick around to see this week's feature presentation, her 2005 film Water.


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