Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Journal (USA, 2015, 6m) from Indrani Kopal on Vimeo.

The Journal (USA, 2015, 6m)
By Indrani Kopal and Derek Burrows

When Master storyteller and Bahamian musician, Derek Burrows rediscovered a time capsule in his basement, it took him back to his freshman year, 1974; the year he first arrived in the US to study music at Berklee College of Music in Boston. The numerous handwritten scribbles about his life - thoughts, people, music notes, appointment, events, poetic observations - the 40 year old journal entries evoked many memories that he kept away for decades.

Shot with iPhone 5s using FILMiC Pro and
Moondog Labs 1.33x iPhone 5/5S Anamorphic Adapter

ALLONS-Y (France, 2015, 4m 30s) from Indrani Kopal on Vimeo.

ALLONS-Y (France, 2015, 4m30s)
A film by Indrani Kopal and Derek Burrows

My month-long whirlwind adventure began on May 12, when I boarded the plane to Cannes, France. It was my first trip to Europe. May 13-27, the incredible two weeks experience in the beautiful French Rivière still feels like a dream. I was truly excited to represent my short documentary called The Game Changer, which was selected as one of 22 finalists of The American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival as well as at the Festival's Short Film Corner.

My partner Derek and I truly enjoyed the whole experience being at Cannes and since we both are filmmakers, we decided to capture the essence of Cannes in a short film. We made a piece called “Allons-y” (Let’s Go) and it will remain as a sweet evidence of this memorable trip.

Shot with iPhone 5s using FILMiC Pro

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Game Changer (US, 2014)

The Game Changer (US, 2014)
By Indrani Kopal

Every Sunday afternoon for the last seven years, Susan Slotnick has driven an hour up the mountains to the Woodbourne Correctional Facility, a medium security prison for men, to teach modern dance. The lives of men whom she touched have never been the same since. This is her story...


© 2014. Indrani Kopal Films.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Unafraid of The Shadows (US, 2013)

Unafraid of The Shadows (US, 2013) from Indrani Kopal on Vimeo.


A short documentary about an emerging photographer and her passion. The film explores several issues surrounding the censorship, expression, and the economic aspects of nude photography.

Unafraid of The Shadows
by indrani kopal

I tried to answer couple of questions that many people raised in the past during the rise of feminine arts, and see if those questions still relevant in today’s culture. The questions are:

1. Can a woman artist necessarily capture an unconventional frame and produce a different imagery of female nudity from her male counterpart?

2. Will an ordinary woman open herself up genuinely and expressively to a female artist because she now no longer carry the burden of a male gaze?

Spring 2013 Project.
MFA Graduate Student - Documentary Studies & Production
The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY

© 2013. Indrani Kopal Films.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Living jazz with Bill Saxton (US, 2012)

Fall 2012 Project

A short documentary about Bill Saxton, a veteran saxophonist and his intimate Jazz Club in Harlem, USA called Bill’s Place.

Bill was born and brought up in Harlem before his family moved to the East Village. After many decades, he returned to his neighborhood and opened an intimate Jazz club called Bill’s Place at 148 West 133rd Street, in a charming little brownstone apartment. Little did he know that this little brownstone, that can sit no more than 25 people, kept untold secrets and unheard musical notes hidden within its walls.

During the 1920s prohibition era, Harlem’s Jazz reigned supreme. In this musically rich period, a famous speakeasy joint known as Tilly’s Chicken Shack attracted singers and performers and dancers from all over, and it was in same brownstone building where Bill’s Place stands today.

This is the place where Billie Holiday and Fats Waller first performed during their early days. Bill shares this rich history of the golden era of Jazz and swing with his patrons that that flock to this place every Friday.

Shot and edited by Indrani Kopal

MFA Graduate Student ~ Documentary Studies and Production
Hofstra University School of Communication

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The tale of three women's struggle for justice and equality

The tale of three women's struggle for justice and equality
by Indrani Kopal | 12:05PM May 24, 2012

Guppy Union was started by women workers who worked in a plastics factory in Balakong, Cheras. Their struggle and desire to start a union started 14 years ago, when they were frustrated with their bosses for increasing their wages by a mere 10 sen. The workers then decided to get organised to protect their interests. The first meeting to establish a pro-tem committee was held on Nov 16, 1997.

After much hassle, the government approved the Guppy Industries Workers Union on April 2, 1998, led by a seven-member committee with Koyil Vani Saminathan as chairperson. However, Guppy refused to recognise the union unless three-quarters of the workers joined the union, including those in the branch in Prai, Penang. The union committee and members were left frustrated as they had not been aware of the Prai operations.

Still, the three main office-bearers - Koyil Vani Saminathan, secretary Roshamiza Muhamamd and treasurer Kanniamah Annasamy - headed for Prai to recruit members. In spite of numerous threats, negative propaganda and dirty tricks by the factory owners to deter union activities, they were able to slowly add to the membership.

On May 30, 1998, however, the management suspended all the committee members and then sacked Koyil Vani, Roshamiza, who had worked for the company since April 1993, and Kanniamah, an employee since July 1991. However, the 200 union members re-elected Koyil Vani as their chairperson up to 2008.

The union continued to function under the able leadership of vice-chairperson Rahiman Mansor and assistant treasurer S Visaletchumy. But on Aug 25, 2001, they were suspended and eventually sacked. Guppy Plastic Industries rejected all attempts by Industrial Relations officers to reinstate the workers or to agree to resolve any of the disputes referred by the union.

In September 1998, the matter was referred to the Industrial Court. In May 2006, the union lost the case, but took it to the High Court two months later. In 2009, victory was theirs. However, the unhappy company appealed in October 2011, leading to a verdict in its favour on Feb 21, 2012. Under Koyil Vani, the union had also championed a gender discrimination case for 11 years against the management.

In June 2001, 30 women workers above the age of 50 were forced to retire after a new handbook of employment regulations was introduced by the company, in which the retirement age was stipulated. Eight of them filed a complaint with the Industrial Court. In 2008, it decided in their favour, finding that the difference in retirement age constitutes gender discrimination. Guppy Plastic Industries sought a review and in 2010, the High Court overturned the decision.

The eight then filed an appeal, but this was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on March 21, 2012 in a unanimous decision by a three-member bench. Justice KN Segara said the company was merely following its own employment regulations and that it is the industry norm to have different retirement ages.

For 14 years, these women had battled double oppression, for being women and for being a union member, in a country that is signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

This is their story.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tribute to Pak Daud Bukit Abal

For close to half a decade, the name of Daud Bukit Abal (Mat Daud Che Mat) was synonymous with the Dikir Barat tradition of his native state of Kelantan.

Born in the Pasir Putih district of Kelantan, his interest in Dikir began in light hearted fashion, imitating famous Dikir masters of his time. His deep and melodious voice however made him an increasingly popular singer, and he eventually emerged as a leading Tok Jogho.

Since 1961, when he made his debut, through the 1970's and 1980's, and till he was declared and granted the title Master of the Dikir Barat by his contemporaries in 2006, he ensured the ascendency of the Dikir tradition in Kelantan. As other traditional art forms in Kelantan were proscribed by the PAS led state government, Daud Bukit Abal further widened the platform of Dikir to embrace musicians and artists from these other 'outlawed' traditions.

In 2005, when there were suggestions that Dikir Barat, too, be proscribed and brought within the 'reins of control', he, along with other renowned Dikir performers, put up a formidable protest which led to state authorities rescinding their decision.

Along with the other renowned Tok Jogho, the late Salleh Jambu and the legendary Tukang Karut, Seman Wau Bulan (composer of the legendary Dikir song, Wau Bulan), Daud Bukit Abal ensured the expansion of the Dikir Barat by experimenting with style and new mediums of performance. Still, it was always the deep grain of his voice which left audiences "entranced."

 He remained active, performing, teaching and ensuring the transmission of Dikir to a younger generation of performers till his passing on 17.09.2011, so that every contemporary performer of Dikir can trace his lineage to Daud Bukit Abal whom they, and the vast Dikir audience in Kelantan and elsewhere, still embrace, with the deepest veneration, as 'The Godfather of Dikir Barat.' - Eddin Khoo (Pusaka)

 Video by Indrani Kopal

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meet the independent animal rescuers

Meet the independent animal rescuers from Indrani Kopal on Vimeo.

Since 2008, Daniya Subramaniam, a young dog rescuer has rescued and re-homed more than 200 dogs and 30 cats through her friends and network on Facebook.

Like Daniya, there are many other independent animal rescuers who have a day job like everyone else but spends most of their spare time and savings rescuing homeless, stray and abused animals from cruel authorities and animal abusers.

They bathe, feed, provide them with shelters and above all, they give them love and heal them from the fear and pain of having been abused.

Like Daniya, another rescuer from Kajang, Puspha Rani, a young mother of two, has been rescuing many unfortunate stray, injured and sick mongrels. She spends a fortune spaying, neutering, vaccinating them for years.

What drives them? What moves them to halt at highways and dash across the street to rescue an injured puppy? What makes them work twice as hard just to feed homeless animals? What motivates them to drive for miles daily to feed neglected dogs on farms? How do they maintain a normalcy in life doing extraordinarily self-sacrificing gestures for the sake of extending some sense of normalcy to the creatures of earth?

This an extraordinary story of two ordinary girls doing extraordinary work.

If you would like to help or contribute these two ladies to ease their burden, kindly contact them at:

Contact details:

Daniya (012 969 9194)

Puspa Rani (012 399 2021)

Produced by Indrani Kopal and Lynn D'Cruz

Friday, May 6, 2011

Video: The people's voice

Video: The people's voice
The usage of video in grassroots journalism

Celebrating the spirit of civic activism and taking user generated content to new level, Malaysiakini has introduced Citizen Journalism Malaysia (CJMY).

The program provides basic news reporting & video production and usage training to users so they can use the power of media to raise issues that matter to them and issues that has been neglected by the mainstream media.

It is a program that empowers volunteers to help their own community by using single point-and-shoot video cameras to capture their stories on video.

The video highlights the use of participatory video and new media as an advocacy tool by ordinary citizens, and the changes it has brought into the political and social climate in Malaysia.

Produced by Indrani Kopal

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

She's leaving on a jetplane

Permit: check! Ticket: check! Winter jackets: check! Facebook status is up!

She’s all packed, and the count down begins. In less than 24 hours, Vanajah Siva will board a plane for Sweden where she will spend the next 5 years pursuing her Ph.D at the Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg.

Vanajah is the happiest woman on the planet today... her only wish is to be surrounded by close family and friends who are bidding her farewell as she board the plane tonight.

But her actual journey began seven years ago when three men and one woman were chosen from 11,275 applicants by the Malaysian National Space Agency (ANGKASA) to spent two weeks in Star City, outside Moscow, Russia.

They were a part of the Angkasawan spaceflight training program, and Vanajah Siva was the only woman on the team.

The project was conceived in 2003 when Russia agreed to send a Malaysian to the International Space Station as part of a billion-dollar purchase of 18 Sukhoi 30-MKM fighter jets.

Out of the four candidates, two were shortlisted upon their return from cosmonaut training, and eventually an Orthopaedic Surgeon, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor was picked as the Malaysian cosmonaut-researcher to crew the Russian Soyuz TMA-11 mission on October 10, 2007.

In many interviews, Vanajah has admitted that participating in the programme was the best thing to have happened to her.

But despite being on the threshold of the greatest experience of her life, her dream was shattered when she did not make the cut for the final two.

Later in the year, Vanajah received the MEASAT Scholarship and left to pursue a master's degree at Chalmers University of Technology, in Gothenburg, Sweden, which she completed in 2009, and she is returning today to complete her PhD.

Malaysiakini recently had the opportunity to talk to this wonderful woman, walking with her down memory lane as she recounted the cherished memories of her days in the space programme.

Tonight, as she flies yet again across the Indian ocean to pursue another dream, we hope Malaysians remember Vanajah and are inspired by her story.

Anything is possible with hard work and dedication, as long as we never ever give up...

Produced by Indrani Kopal
Voiceover: Megan Radford