Director Biography – Reena Dutt (TOO MANY BODIES)

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Dutt is a member of Lincoln Center’s Directors’ Lab in New York City, and an experienced producer. Her most recent producing credits include the Sundance premiering AKICITA: The Battle of Standing Rock (2018), John Legend’s “Penthouse Floor” (over 10M views on Youtube), and a PSA in support of the #MeToo campaign (As seen on Huffpost, NowThis, and USA Today coming soon).

As a director, Dutt was a finalist for the NewFilmmakers On Location competition with her short, SNAPSHOT!, her short films 3 PUFFS OF GOLD travelled the festival circuit internationally, and TALL as seen on Evite.com.

Dutt has directed a series of Sponsored and Original Content projects for Evite.com, commercials for Mr. Tummee, and a spec for Moet Chandon. She also directs theatre in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.

She is a graduate of the Media Arts program at the University of Arizona, Tucson, the acting program at William Esper Studio, New York City and was a fellow with San Francisco Film Society and Film Independent.

Most important, Dutt is a city girl with a country soul who creates with a conscience, on and off screen.

Director Statement

After the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I counted back the years to the first school shooting I was aware of. It was nearly 20 years prior at Columbine High School. I remember having just moved to Los Angeles and flipping through my mental Rolodex of dorm friends – was anyone I just graduated with a Colorado Native? Did they go home for the summer? Were they or their families affected?

Social media was not a powerful tool at that time, and now Parkland students are making strides online with their own journey to reform through digital media. Mobilizing thousands across the country to support common sense gun laws, they mirror the youth I dreamt of being — the activists of 1968 Berkeley and New York City.

Around the same time I started thinking about a John Legend video for “Penthouse Floor” I had produced a few months prior that addressed our country’s polarizing political divide. The video garnered numerous remarks online and I further realized our need for entertainment – it’s an approachable means of expressing opinions of conflict. Perhaps members of those online audiences may not feel comfortable speaking their opinions in public, and instead, they activate by becoming living room advocates.

In the process of seeking support for the production, I learned the TOO MANY BODIES team had two degrees of separation from a fatality of the Santa Fe High School shooting, and I personally had one degree of separation from a Columbine survivor. I only learned of my colleague when she revealed her PTSD was ongoing due to the event nearly 20 years prior, and it wasn’t something she revealed to too many people.

What happens to the families who have lost loved ones? What happens to the community members who were witnesses? What happens to the survivor with life-changing PTSD? What happens to the onlooker who doesn’t know how to help?

Film and movement were always my go-to therapy, and TOO MANY BODIES brings the two together as a means to express something that is as important to my soul as is being an American. The music video is partnered with a website for survivors, advocates, and loved ones. We hope to point audiences in an introspective direction that will in turn ask them to rethink and/or activate as advocates for common sense gun laws.

The power of art as a seed for discussion is necessary. I hope you and fellow artists join me in having those hard conversations using art as an instigator, in turn strengthening the progress of our community and our country.

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