LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Acclaimed Filmmaker Sonali Sundararaj is set to produce the upcoming film drama “Music Therapy.”
The short film tells the story of Ana who leaves her home in Russia to move to America so she could give her brother and mother a better life but after she arrives, she realizes that life is not easy at all in her new country. The film stars Lauren Bruniges (“Timon’s Friendship Adventure”), Marina Hova (“Blue Hope”), and newcomers Pedro Penteado, Mengyu Dong and Mohamed Al Badry. The film is set for release later this year.
“This film is very personal. Having moved to a city where various cultures intersect, I was constantly reminded of the spectrum of challenges faced by people who moved from other countries and the similarities of our experiences,” Sundararaj said. “I think a lot of people will relate to this film because most of us share the experience of moving away from home.”
Sundararaj sees the film’s theme as acceptance and taking a first step toward change. She believes that no matter what the struggle is, the only way to overcome it is to accept it and push forward instead of living in grief and bitterness.
The positive message is in keeping with the filmmaker’s ability to persevere and remain positive despite challenges. Having grown up in Chennai, India, Sundararaj had a fascination for films and sports, often dividing her time between the two. Despite her petite frame, she would become a top sprinter at her high school and college.
Although her hopes of someday going to the Olympics were dashed when she suffered a severe knee injury. But she would ultimately earn a degree in Computer Science at Women’s Christian College in Chennai before going on to earn a Masters in Communications so she could seek out a career in film and television upon graduation.
“It’s like a rite of passage to get a degree in Computer Science in India, but I knew it was not my calling,” she recalled. “After successfully producing shows for Indian TV for 2 years, I wanted to broaden my horizons and learn more about the American film industry.”
Upon arriving in the U.S., Sundararaj attended UCLA Extension to familiarize herself further with the American film and TV industry, then going on to write, direct and produce several short films. Today, the young filmmaker is the associate producer on the upcoming science fiction film “2.0” with Amy Jackson of “Supergirl.”
Sundararaj’s past work includes such films as the thriller “Divulgence,” “Greasy Monkey,” the acclaimed YouTube series “Sigma,” FX’s acclaimed series “American Crime Story” and many others.
“We live in a time with multiple avenues for entertainment and I certainly want to explore all of them,” she said. “Apart from the film and TV projects, I am also producing a VR project and working on producing some music video content and other projects. But I am blessed to have found some amazing friends and I have some family here as well who have been a tremendous support.”