“Never let up,” Mira Nair told Nadia Ramoutar a fellow filmmaker located in Saint Augustine. These words ring in Ramoutar’s ears as she gets closer and closer to finding representation for “It’s Huge,” a documentary she recently completed. “It’s a long journey from film to screen,” Ramoutar said and after talking with Nair she “feels less daunting.”
In March, Ramoutar got the chance to meet Nair as a result of the Jacksonville Public Library’s participation in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Big Read. Each year Jacksonville participates in the library’s community read. This year, The Namesake was chosen. To complement the book we welcomed director of The Namesake film, Mira Nair to our city to speak at the Main Library.
Ramoutar is no stranger to the film industry. With a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Florida, she has taught at both Flagler and the Art Institute. She has worked on commercial video projects and done research and filmed for projects like Destination Craft with Jim West for PBS. While she has worked on dozens of films, “It’s Huge,” will be her first feature-length endeavor. As of this summer, she will be working full-time on her film projects and she is now working on getting representation for the film. This, she says, is incredibly scary and exciting.
“It’s Huge,” the documentary that has taken Ramoutar three years to complete, is ready to be seen by the world. Meeting Nair was the perfect boost as she was in the process of searching for representation for “It’s Huge.” Getting the chance to have a one-on-one conversation with Nair the night before the public Q&A of the Big Read breathed new life into Ramoutar’s efforts. As local as she was just coming out of the complexities of putting out her first feature length film.
Growing up, Ramoutar always looked up to Nair. The parallels of their lives are almost startling. They both grew up in a different world before moving to America; Ramoutar was born in Ireland before moving to the States, Nair in India before coming to America for college. Both have interracial parents, and both of their fathers hail from India. And, of course, they both chose film as their passion and profession.
Too often meeting your role model doesn’t quite live up to the expectation, but that’s not the case with Nair. Ramoutar describes her as being approachable, almost like you are talking to an “aunt or cousin.” As a woman coming up in the film industry, Ramoutar always had an eye on Nair. “I was very aware of her and her career…. Women are still such a small number of directors when it comes to major motion pictures.” During their one-on-one before the public Q&A session, Nair confided in Ramoutar saying, “It was very lonely for a long time…now there are people like you.” While Ramoutar knows “It’s [women in film] a major inequality in our entertainment industry” she doesn’t plan on letting it stop her. She’s ready to get her own films out there, starting with “It’s Huge.”
At the library, we love being able to create opportunities like this for our community. We strive to have engaging programs and resources for our customers year-round. Follow our events online on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and join us this summer for our Summer Reading challenge for all ages!