Reshel Shah Kapoor, BA (Hons) Film Production alumnus, has directed and produced Black Sheep, a documentary film focusing on India’s transgender community.

The 70-minute feature length documentary follows a group of Hijras and the crew as they create new bonds of friendship, whilst breaking the barriers of popular myth and prejudice.

We caught up with Reshel to find out more:

“When I was fifteen I remember telling my aunts and uncle that I wanted to be a film maker, I want to change the world with films, and they would just laugh it off. No one ever took me seriously, so in some ways I became my own black sheep in my own community. I’m always on the search for people like myself.

“When I got married in India, the transgender women come to your wedding to bless you, and I found it such an oxymoron. It’s like come and bless a bride then, the moment that happened, they were done. I guess I just got obsessed by how they are treated in India.

“I spent about 7 months reading PhD theses and watching films on the 3rd gender of India. It was really insightful but it only showed me a small bit about their life. There has to be more to a person than just the sad or negative parts. I wanted to know their dreams and I just couldn’t find the answers. So I was like, let’s just go and find it out myself.

“Because this was the first time I was directing, a lot of funders would come back and didn’t want to take the risk. I got a small crew together, who were also trying to make their first feature film. The American School of Bombay gave us accommodation, so me and my crew were set for 40 days. The people that believed in it knew I couldn’t afford the normal rates, so they’d either do it for free or for a lot less money. It worked out in the end and we got there. It took me two years. I work full time as a lecturer in Dubai and I’m doing my Masters and making a film. So there were times when I thought, should I be making this film? But you’ve just got to keep going.

“I know this film won’t make millions and I don’t expect it to. I just want it to be seen, that’s the main goal. If this could be the first brick to create a bridge for transgenders and the other public in India, then I’ve done a great job.”

What is your One Piece of Advice?

“Don’t give up. At all. Go and learn everything. Really work up the ladder and learn everything about it. You’re going to fall, but you’ve just got to pick yourself up and keep going. Just go out there, do it and go crazy. You’ll do great.”