By Robert Gluck/JNS.org
For filmmaker Meera Menon, no honor could
have been more fitting than winning the inaugural award named after famed
Jewish screenwriter and novelist Nora Ephron, the woman whose work inspired
Click photo to download. Caption: Meera Menon, the first winner of the Tribeca Film Festival’s Nora Ephron Prize for “Farah Goes Bang.” Credit: Jim Dobson.
At the recent 2013 Tribeca Film Festival,
Menon was named the first recipient of the $25,000 Nora Ephron Prize, given to
a writer or director whose work embodies that of the late Ephron, who wrote the
scripts for a number of hit films, including “When Harry Met Sally,” “Heartburn”
and “Sleepless In Seattle.” Menon told JNS.org
that Ephron’s work has inspired her because it epitomizes “how to take pain and
suffering and turn them into laughter and joy.”
“Those qualities inspired me and my
co-filmmakers,” Menon said. “Receiving this incredible honor in her name means
more than I could ever articulate.”
June 26 will mark one year since Ephron’s
death from complications from acute myeloid leukemia. Her work will now live on
through the annual prize given at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Menon received the prize on April 25 for her
film “Farah Goes Bang,” which follows a woman in her 20s who tries to lose her
virginity while campaigning across America for presidential candidate John
Kerry in 2004.
Click photo to download. Caption: Screenwriters Nicholas Pileggi and Nora Ephron at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. The Nora Ephron Prize was awarded for the first time in April at the Tribeca festival. Credit: David Shankbone.
A writer, director, and producer of narrative
and documentary films, Menon’s short film “The Seduction of Shaitan” secured
online distribution through the South Asian culture and fashion magazine EGO, and her short film “Mark in
Argentina” was an official selection of the 2010 Hollyshorts Film Festival. She
has worked for documentary filmmakers on the
PBS series “Destination America,” and she produced the documentary short
“Polar Opposites,” recently purchased for broadcasting by The Documentary Channel.
Menon explained that Ephron through her
scripts “recounts a particular female experience that is sometimes painful or
shameful, but she finds the humor, the heart and the levity in those subject
matters,” Menon said.
“In her iconic film ‘When Harry Met Sally’
and in ‘You’ve Got Mail,’ Meg Ryan’s characters, and her interpretation of
Nora’s words, presented a new modern woman that we hadn’t seen before, one that
was smart, funny and complicated, and she did all of the things that women
aren’t allowed to do onscreen,” she added.
Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of the Tribeca
Film Festival with Robert DeNiro and Craig Hatkoff, told JNS.org the festival organizers were impressed with Menon’s “fresh,
witty, and smart take on a coming of age story about girlfriends, passions and
“Her film captures the spirit and themes of
Nora’s work,” Rosenthal said. “I’m proud to continue Nora’s legacy through this
award and encourage women filmmakers to create the work that inspires them.”
The Tribeca Film Festival emerged in 2001
following the attacks on the World Trade Center, with the goal of spurring the
economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan through an annual
celebration of film, music and culture. Since its first edition in 2002, the festival
has screened more than …read more