A young Indian widow moves to the California desert to help run her cousin’s crumbling motel. When she unwittingly gets caught up with the motel’s drifting drug user clientele, however, any hope she had for the American Dream devolves into nightmare.

With high stakes and impressive cinematography, writer-director Jhanvi Motla stealthily drains the optimism of her protagonist, played with a vulnerable righteousness by newcomer Shavya Samala. As streaks of surrealism only amplify the story’s queasy undertones and thriller underbelly, Motla unexpectedly flips the stereotype of the successful American motel run by Indian immigrants.

Mirage was selected for the second annual NALIP Latino Lens: Narrative Short Film Incubator for Women of Color, a program supported by Netflix.

Fiction, Drama, Female-centered, Mystery+Thriller, Woman Director

Jhanvi Motla
Jhanvi Motla

Jhanvi Motla is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker from Mumbai, and a graduate of the American Film Institute Conservatory. Her films are centered on the South Asian diaspora across the globe and have been showcased at festivals like the LA Asian Pacific, LA Shorts, Louisiana International Film Festival, and more. Motla is an alumnus of Film Independent’s Project Involve. In 2022, she was selected for NALIP’s Women of Color Incubator where she wrote and directed MIRAGE. Currently, she is developing MR & MRS PATEL, her feature directorial debut, which is in the final round of consideration for the 1497 Features Lab.

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October 12, 2023 9:30 pm

Shorts Program: Fragmented Realities

World Premiere

Jhanvi Motla

Aliza Khan, Sonali Sundararaj

Jhanvi Motla

Alan Torres

Jacob Ehrlich

Shavya Samala, Abhimanyu Katyal, Behzad Dabu, Jozef Fahey, Shashikant Panat