Writer, Director, Producer: Agam Darshi
In DONKEYHEAD, Mona Ghuman (Agam Darshi), is a failed writer in her mid-30's, carving out an isolated life while caring for her ailing traditional Sikh father, in their older, somewhat outdated family home. When her once-autocratic father has a debilitating stroke, her three successful siblings show up on the doorstep determined to take control of the situation. The clatter and messiness of personal and familial dysfunction, are captured with loving and dry, humorous clarity, amid the patterns and textures of the Ghuman family's Punjabi-Canadian household.
Most of the story takes place in the family home, and though originally written as a suburban home, I suggested we look for an older, inner-city home that an immigrant grocer from the Punjab might have afforded to buy in the early 80's. We rented a house that was characterful but completely empty, and had been divided into two apartments, thus needing spatial retrofitting, wallpaper and paint. It also needed a full dress in order to create the world of the Ghuman family home, unchanged since the relative prosperity of the mid-1980s.
Written/directed/produced by Darshi, DONKEYHEAD fully embodies the indie spirit: shot during Covid, in the middle of sub-zero Saskatchewan temperatures, with limited crew and limited means, and yet, it won Best Feature at the 2021 Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival, was invited to open the 2022 Mumbai Film Festival, has been picked up by Ava DuVernay's Array Releasing for Netflix, and garners 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Each detail, down to the peeling wallpaper, was a choice that Darshi deliberated over with her production designer, Marian Wihak...” New York Times
“Might be the best indie dramedy on Netflix right now” Roger Moore of Movie Nation
“92% on Rotten Tomatoes”