Arun K. Vir
Writer, Director, Storyteller
ARUN K. VIR began her career in New York City at the heart of the independent filmmaking community. Vir established herself as the Media Training Director for Film/Video Arts, a non-profit, where she produced workshops for nascent artists. During her tenure, Arun was invited to serve as a committee member for Fifth Night, famously known as the Nuyorican Poet’s Café on the lower east side, founded by Poet Miguel Algarin. Staged readings were performed to packed audiences by an emerging talent pool that included Francis McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Adrienne Shelley, and John Leguizamo. Fifth Night inspired Arun to find her voice and she began writing narrative stories.
Vir’s short screenplay THE LAST WEEKEND earned her the “Directing Workshop for Women” award sponsored by AFI. She moved to Los Angeles to make the film which starred Suzzanne Douglas (Parenthood) and upon completion, earned a Best Short award from the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. THE LAST WEEKEND was also showcased on BET "J’s: The Best Shorts" with actor/host Hill Harper. Later, Arun wrote UNFINISHED, a short story. Tucson Ledger wrote: "Vir's compelling drama...an example of the complex interplay of miscegenation, parental obligation, and diaspora."
In 2014, Arun produced a scripted reality series “Romancing the Joan,” with legendary comedian Joan Rivers before her untimely death. Additional credits include Showtime’s, "BBGun," (dir: Garrett Williams, ‘98 Sundance winner); Civil Rights documentary "Freedom Riders" (three-time Emmy Award Winner; dirs: Stanley Nelson/Laurens Grant) and Telly Winner "Friendly Advice Machine" with John Cleese.
Inspired by her family story, in August 2015, Arun was compelled to write a short screenplay, RESET, an autobiographical drama which tackles the issues of addiction, eating disorders and recovery through the eyes of a mixed-race teen. Through the support of various sponsors, Arun completed production of RESET in 2016, starring newcomer Camille Bright with Nandini Minocha (Miss India America) and A. Russell Andrews (Insecure, Runaway Island). RESET made its international festival premiere in London at the 2015 British Urban Film Festival, sponsored by Channel 4. In June 2016, The Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) nominated RESET for Best Diaspora Short Drama. Additional honors and recognition for RESET include the Founders Choice Award by the International Black Film Festival Nashville; Programmers Short Film Award from The Pan African Film Festival and an official selection at the Orlando International Film Festival, to name a few.
Drawing on various aspects of her life, Arun continues to pen feature scripts and short stories in a variety of genres. Her screenplay SUBURBAN TURBAN, a coming-of-age urban drama about a second-generation Indian-American hipster living in New York City, was a Finalist for the 2016 Academy Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship. Arun's dramedy, MONA SINGH, was a Finalist for the 2018 Humanitas New Voices program.
The proud mother of two children, Salma and Shailen, Arun met and married Willie Dawkins with whom she had collaborated with at AFI. They live in Los Angeles.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
Finalist, 2018 Humanitas New Voices Program
Finalist, The Academy Nicholl Fellowship, 2016
Official Selection, 2016 Beverly Hills Film Festival
Official Selection, 2016 Orlando Film Festival
Official Selection & International Competition for Short Film,
2016 All Lights India International Film Festival, Hyderabad, India
Official Selection, 2016 Rwanda Film Festival
Official Selection, 2016 African American Women in Cinema Film Festival
Official Selection, Women in Media- Newark, 2016 Women's History Month
Film Festival, Newark, NJ
Programmers Award, 2016 Pan African Film Festival, Los Angeles
Official Selection, 2015 Reel Recovery Film Festival, Los Angeles
Official Selection, 2015 Reel Recovery Film Festival, New York
Official Selection, 2015 British Urban Film Festival, London
Founder's Choice Award, 2015 International Black Film Festival, Nashville
Diamond Award, 2015 International Film Festival
THE LAST WEEKEND
Best Short Film, Pan African Film Festival, Los Angeles