Leslie Shampaine’s 84-minute feature documentary, CALL ME DANCER, attracted a full house at the 23rd edition of the New York Indian Film Festival on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at the Village East Cinema by Angelika in Manhattan. The special screening was followed by a Q&A with director Shampaine, lead protagonist Manish Chauhan, and executive producer Jay Sean. At the closing night awards ceremony, the New York Women in Film & Television awarded director Leslie Shampaine “Best Documentary by a Woman Filmmaker.”
“This is the story of how boundless determination and unremitting effort can lead to success in any endeavor – a story that I hope inspires young people across the globe to push beyond their limits to follow their dreams,” said Shampaine, a first-time director and former professional ballet dancer. “Dance films are typically created by looking into our world from the outside. They convey the difficulty of the profession, but what is often lost is the passion and inner joy that pushes dancers past the pain. I knew that as a dancer, I could offer an insider’s sensitivity and perspective.”
International pop icon, singer, and songwriter Jay Sean executive produced the film because the story resonated with his own; as a British-Indian, Sean’s parents wanted him to pursue medicine rather than his dream of becoming a singer. CALL ME DANCER, in English and Hindi (with English subtitles), is a live-your-dream film that charts the journey of Manish, a talented street dancer from Mumbai, who dreams of becoming professional against the wishes of his struggling parents. He meets a master Israeli ballet teacher who gives him the determination to keep going. But when he is pitted against another boy who’s got the attention of the top school in the world, Manish realizes he must push himself to his physical limits if he has any chance to succeed. Filmed in India, Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the dance documentary features two original songs by Jay Sean, music by Bangladeshi American hip-hop artist Anik Khan, and a score by award-winning, British-Indian composer Nainita Desai. Watch teaser HERE.
*Next, the film will have its European premiere at the prestigious London Indian Film Festival on June 27, 2023, at the historic BFI Southbank Cinema.