Ask the Sexpert

1-3 May 2017
TIFF Bell Lightbox 350 King St W

Co-presented with Hot Docs
Directed by Vaishali Sinha & Produced by Mridu Chandra

In India, a country of 1.2 billion, no one is supposed to talk about sex. Highly taboo, sex remains unfit for public discussion let alone promotion, making the work of 90-year-old Dr. Mahinder Watsa all the more impressive. To millions of Mumbai newspaper readers, his sex advice column is as much of an institution as it is a lifeline. ASK THE SEXPERT is a feature documentary about this highly popular 93-year-old sex advice columnist. Unflappable, Dr. Watsa has heard it all, from premature ejaculation embarrassment to unconventional masturbation techniques. With a non-moralistic approach and generous doses of humour, he emboldens men and women to write in and change their lives, if not their sex positions. But expounding on sexual pleasure, consent, gender equality and health is not without peril in a country beset with arcane indecency laws and chastity ideals. Controversial and completely charming, the good doctor is in.

Mridu Chandra is a New York based producer of award-winning documentaries and independent feature films. An alum of the CPB/WGBH Producers Academy and the Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access Program, her films have premiered at the Sundance, SXSW & Hot Docs Film Festivals, aired on PBS and HBO, screened for members of US Congress & the United Nations, and showcased at Museums & film festivals worldwide. Specialties include story development and grant writing, line producing, editorial and archival research, rights and clearances, and post production supervising. As an educator, she has taught documentary courses at The New School in the Graduate Media Studies department, at NYU in the SCPS’s Department of Design, Digital Arts, and Film, and in the NYC “Made in NY PA training Program,” providing skill development and mentorship for individuals from diverse communities seeking entry level positions in the NY film and television industry. She completed a teaching residency in Lahore, where she created curriculum for and established Pakistan’s first university level film & video program. Prior to her filmmaking career, she studied medical anthropology and South Asian studies at the University of Chicago (M.A.) and at McGill University (B.A.).

Vaishali Sinha is the Co-Director/Producer of the feature documentary MADE IN INDIA about the personal stories behind the phenomenon of “outsourcing” surrogates to India. The film premiered on PBS and is currently a case study at Harvard Business School for their class on ethics. Her current documentary feature in progress is called ASK THE SEXPERT, centered on a highly popular sex advice column for a daily newspaper in India. She has been awarded a development grant from The Catapult Fund for this film. In 2013 Vaishali produced/directed “Geeta’s World”, an interactive web documentary project about a 21-year-old female taxi driver from New Delhi, co produced at a storytelling hackathon by Tribeca Film Institute, Mozilla and Ford Foundation in NY. Vaishali also produces films for Center for Reproductive Rights, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and others. In addition she freelances as researcher and production coordinator at Videoline Productions founded by Peabody award-winning filmmaker Richard Wormser (Dir: Rise and Fall of Jim Crow). Vaishali speaks regularly at events and has acted as jury member at film festivals. In the past she has worked with women’s rights group Point of View in Mumbai. She is originally from Mumbai, and now resides in Brooklyn, NY with her partner Fred Lassen, a Music Director.

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