Artist Profile

Natasha Mendonca


Natasha Mendonca is a filmmaker and visual artist from Bombay, India. She holds a B.A from St. Xavier's College, Bombay in Sociology and Anthropology and a Masters in Film and Video from the California Institute of the Arts.

In 2003, she overcame India’s tough censorship laws around homosexuality and co-founded Larzish, the nation’s first international film and video film festival on sexuality and gender based in Bombay, India.

Her recent work Jan Villa, which is an experimental short film won the Tiger award at The International Film Festival Rotterdam 2011, the Ken Burns award for the Best of the festival at the Ann Arbor Film Festival 2011, A residency award at the Southern Panoramas competition, Video Brazil 2011 and Best Film of the festival at Experimenta, India 2011.

She recently completed a film collaboration with Olafur Eliasson that features the Little Sun solar-powered lamp, for the London Olympics and the London Cultural Festival Tate Modern, 2012.

She has currently embarked on a journey aboard the Last Ship and has a luxurious windward cabin with a porthole to help her shoot her first feature film, Ajeeb Aashiq on Labor, Gender and the city of Bombay. The film has received the Hubert Bals production fund, 2011 and was also selected to be part of Open Doors at the Locarno Film Festival 2011.

Synopsis and select screening history:

Jan Villa – 20mins/16mm/2010
After the monsoon floods of 2005 that submerged Bombay, the filmmaker returns to her city to examine the personal impact of the devastating event. The result is Jan Villa, a tapestry of images that studies the space of a post-colonial metropolis but in a way that deeply implicates the personal. The destruction wreaked by the floods becomes a telling and a dismantling of other devastations and the sanctuaries of family and home. In its structure, Jan Villa is a vortex, drawing to its center all that surrounds it.

• The International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2011(Tiger award winner)
• Ann Arbor Film Festival, 2011 (Best Film of the Festival)
• Southern Panoramas competition, Video Brazil 2011 (Award winner)
• Experimenta, India 2011 (Best Film of the festival)
• Centre Pompidou, HORS PISTES festival, France 2012
• Tate Modern, London 2012
• European Media Art Festival, Osnabruek, 2012
• CPH:DOX, Denmark 2012
• SAVAC – Monitor 8 Canada, 2012
• VIDEOEX Experimental Film & Video Festival Switzerland 2011(in-competition)
• Views from the Avant Garde, New York Film Festival, 2011
• l'Alternativa 2011 - 18th Barcelona Independent Film Festival 2011 (in-competition)
• Festival dei Popoli, Italy 2011 (in-competition)
• LUX Salon, UK 2011
• Festival du Nouveau Cinema, Canada 2011 (in-competition)
• Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2011
• Cork Film festival, Ireland 2011 (in-competition)
• Outfest – Platinium Los Angeles, 2011
• 25 FPS Zagreb, Croatia 2011 (in-competition)
• Vienna International Film Festival, Austria 2010
• World Film Festival Bangkok, Thailand 2010

Directors’ filmography (list of titles and years of production).

Jan Villa – 20mins/16mm/2010
Watercolors – 5 mins/16mm/2008
Fragments – 3mins/16mm/2008
Madsong – 20 mins/16mm/2006

Director's Statement
I use film making to explore issues about the fragmented nuclear family and norms of ascribed and proscribed gender roles. Jan Villa is a process-based short film broadly under the understanding of the personal and the collective and the line that separates the two. The sources and inspiration for all my work is my interest in ideas around ambiguity - as actual or potential sources of psychological discomfort or threat and a distinct way of thinking about or containing memory - the edges of containment are porous, enabling encounters between different expressions of memory. Jan Villa investigates personal subject matter pushing it into a more ubiquitous experience. Images are accumulated and then sewn together like a patchwork quilt to form a theme in the service of an expansive, kaleidoscopic experience.