Indian American engineer-turned filmmaker Saila Kariat’s debut film, “The Valley,” which highlights the pressure that young people undergo to meet their parents’ expectations, is now available for viewing at theaters across the country.
The film, starring Alyy Khan, Suchitra Pillai, Samina Peerzada, Jake T. Austin, Christa B. Allen, David S. Lee, Barry Corbin, Agneeta Thacker and Salma Khan, among others, will be screened at the Landmark Opera Plaza in San Francisco, Calif., June 8-14 and at the Landmark Aquarius Theater in Palo Alto, Calif., June 11-12.
“The Valley” is the story of an affluent Indian American entrepreneur, Neal Kumar, his wife Roopa and his daughters Monica and Maya who reside in the high octane, technologically driven culture that is Silicon Valley. His ambitious, affluent life appears idyllic from the exterior; however, when his daughter Maya tragically commits suicide, the fractured nature of his interior life becomes apparent to himself and those around him. (Read earlier India-West story here.)
On the idea behind making the film, Kariat told IANS: “I have lived in the Silicon Valley for over 20 years. I witnessed the pressure young people face to be successful, and the cluster suicides in some Bay Area schools. The problems experienced there can be found in most modern societies all over the world. They are just more intense in our high-tech capital.”
In “The Valley,” she has tackled the sensitive subject of depression and suicide. Kariat said her vision is to touch hearts with her stories.
“Anxiety and depression are on the rise amongst young adults, and the reasons are complex. I explore this in the movie. I have also seen mental health problems go unaccepted or ignored in the Indian community. There is a lot of stigma, particularly amongst Asians,” she said. “I want to tell stories that have some meaning and relevance in today’s world. I do not like gratuitous violence and sex…I want to tell stories that touch people’s souls, not make them cringe.’
The film has won awards at many film extravaganzas like the Berlin International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema, Madrid International Film Festival, Out of the Can Film Festival, and DC South Asian Film Festival.
For screenings and more info, visit www.thevalleyfilm.com.