Indian Summer follows Indian American kids aged 9 to 16 at the Hindu Heritage Summer Camp near Rochester, New York as they pursue a course that offers exposure to meditation, yoga, and the opportunity to learn how to practice Hinduism in a largely Christian country. Campers come from all over the country and many are the only Indian person in their school. They long to make other “brown” friends, to express their religious identity, and to learn from older counselors who are “just like them.”
Through a lively and entertaining weave of footage shot by young campers, interviews, animation, and verite footage, the film brings together first generation Indian American kids with similar experiences to document their religious and cultural point of view. They demystify the basic tenets of Hinduism for themselves and for us, they express a deep need for community, and they show us what it takes to be a Hindu in America.
Mridu Chandra is a filmmaker and writer based in New York. She has produced award-winning documentaries and narrative films that premiered at the Sundance, SXSW and Hot Docs Film Festivals, aired on national PBS, screened for members of US Congress and the United Nations, and showcased at Museums and film festivals worldwide. Documentary credits include Electoral Dysfunction (co-producer, PBS), The Canal Street Madam (producer, SXSW), Women, War & Peace (coordinating producer & post production supervisor, PBS series), Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (co-producer, Sundance/ITVS/ POV), and Let the Church Say, Amen (producer, Sundance/ITVS/Independent Lens).
Indie feature credits include Love, Ludlow (line producer, Sundance), Punching At The Sun (associate producer, Sundance, Tribeca), and Poundcake (producer, AFI-LA). She taught graduate level film classes at The New School Department of Media Studies and at New York University in their School of Continuing and Professional Studies. As a writer, her first screenplay The Tennis Partner was awarded the 2011 Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access development grant. Most recently, she wrote and directed the critically acclaimed multimedia film and musical performance Himalaya Song, premiering at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film was chosen as one of the “Ten Best Music Films” by Rolling Stone magazine.
Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. We do this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media.