DEEPA MEHTA was born in India and received a degree in philosophy from the University of New Delhi.
In 1991, Mehta produced and directed her first feature film Sam & Me, the poignant story of an unlikely friendship between two outcasts who form a deep and permanent bond despite the fact that neither is welcome in the other's world. Sam & Me won the very first Honorable Mention by the Critics in the prestigious Camera D'Or category in the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.
In 1992, she directed a one hour episode of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, (the adventures of Indiana Jones as a boy) produced by George Lucas for ABC television. "Benares" was filmed on location in Benares, India.
In 1993, Mehta directed her second feature film, Camilla, a Canadian / UK co-production starring (the late) Jessica Tandy and Bridget Fonda. Other cast members included Elias Koteas, Maury Chaykin, Graham Greene and Hume Cronyn. It was shot on location in Toronto, Ontario and Savannah, Georgia. Camilla had a world-wide release early in 1995.
Mehta directed the final episode of George Lucas' Young Indiana Jones Chronicles in 1994. The MOW, "Travels with Father", was shot on location in Prague, C.R. and Greece.
Fire , Mehta's third feature film, based on an original screenplay, was written, directed and produced by Mehta. Fire opened the Perspective Canada Program at the 1996 Toronto International Film Festival, where it tied with Fly Away Home for the Air Canada Peoples’ Choice Award. It was one of twenty-nine films selected from over 1400 entries, world-wide, for the prestigious New York Film Festival. At the Vancouver International Film Festival, Fire won the Federal Express Award for Best Canadian Film as chosen by the audience. At the Chicago International Film Festival, it won two Silver Hugo Awards for Best Direction and Best Actress. In Mannheim, Fire won the Jury Award and in Paris, it was voted Favorite Foreign Film. Fire has currently been sold to 30 countries and had its North American release on August 22, 1997, followed by releases in Europe, Australia and India in September, 1997.
Earth , based on Bapsi Sidhwa's critically acclaimed novel, Cracking India, is the second film in Mehta's trilogy of the elements, Fire, Earth and Water. Earth was shot in New Delhi, India, in January of 1998. It had its World Premiere as a Special Presentation at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival where it was received with a standing ovation and critical acclaim. Earth won the Prix Premiere du Public at the Festival du film Asiatique de Deauville, France in March, 1999 and the Critics' Award at the Schermi d'Amore International Film Festival, Italy in April of the same year. Currently, Earth has been sold to 22 countries and was selected by the Film Federation of India as India's nomination for consideration for an Academy Award in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.
Her film, Bollywood Hollywood, opened the Perspective Canada Program at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival, and has remained in the top ten grossing movies since its Canadian opening on October 25, 2002. In 2003, Mehta co-wrote and directed Republic of Love, based on the novel of the same title by the world-renowned author, Carol Shields, starring Bruce Greenwood and Amelia Fox.,
In the same year, Ms. Mehta won the prestigious CineAsia “Best Director” Award - an acclaim awarded to Steven Spielberg in 2002.
Water, the third film in the “elements” trilogy, has recently been completed and will be released in the fall of 2005. Initially, the film was to be shot in India, but Hindu fundamentalist created riots, burnt the sets and issued death threats to the director and actors forcing the film to stop production in early 2000. The film was remounted and completed shooting in Sri Lanka in June 2004.