New company, Melki Films Inc., launches with busy slate of documentary television

From a media release:

Viveka Melki is proud to announce the launch of her new film, television and visual arts company, Melki Films Inc. The company, of which Viveka Melki is Founder and President, is based in Montreal.

“I’m thrilled to announce the birth of Melki Films Inc.”, said Melki. “As I have done previously while an independent filmmaker, my new company, Melki Films Inc., will create high-quality documentary and drama programming for Canadian and worldwide audiences, as well as curatorial work for art galleries and museums worldwide. Our projects will focus on the powerful human, emotional stories that emerge from dramatic social, economic, political and historical events and situations.”

Viveka Melki was born in The Gambia, West Africa, to a Lebanese and Indigenous Brazilian family, before completing her education in the UK and then immigrating to Canada, her adopted homeland. Melki identifies as a racialized settler to Turtle Island. She brings her experience of having lived, and worked, in repressive regimes to her storytelling, often incorporating feminist themes and perspectives. She is multilingual, speaking English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Wolof (one of the languages of West Africa).

Melki Films Inc.’s initial slate of productions include:

“Branded” (working title) for CBC The Passionate Eye. TV-hour & Festival/Theatrical versions. A powerful, candid documentary about the domestic sexual trafficking across Canada. Currently in production, for release in 2023.

“Butterfly Hunters” (working title) for Telus in British Columbia and Alberta. TV-hour & Festival/Theatrical versions. An inside look at the shadowy world of sexual trafficking in Western Canada. In production in 2022 for release in 2023.

“The Eric Brunt Collection” (working title) – in partnership with the Canadian War Museum, this project is a collection of compelling one-on-one conversations by filmmaker Eric Brunt with some of the few surviving Canadian veterans of World War II. The collection, comprised on 416 filmed interviews already completed and another 68 being filmed in 2022, will be a highlight of the CWM’s major new database called “In Their Voices”, to launch in 2024.

“Alouette” – docu-animation. An 11-minute film funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, New Chapters Program, featuring WW2 Hong Kong POW camp veteran Douglas Rees. In production, for completion in 2024.

The Himalayan Blue Poppy/ SākrƏd” – Melki is creating, curating and producing this major international touring visual arts exhibition, launching in 2024. The exhibition, presented by Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens in partnership with the Montreal Botanical Garden, will innovatively celebrate the stunningly beautiful, magical flower of legend, the Himalayan Blue Poppy, known as Meconopsis, on the centenary of its cultivation by gardeners worldwide.

Melki Films Inc. also has numerous other projects in active development, including:

“Roadside Heroes” – Eric Brunt & Viveka Melki will co-directing this feature-length documentary. In search of purpose and identity, an LGBTQ+ filmmaker crisscrosses Canada, recording the untold stories of other outsiders: marginalized BIPOC Canadian veterans who served in World War Two.

Gene d’Espoir (Gene of Hope)”, a French-language original, based on the life of Audrey-Ann Bélanger. It tells a remarkable tale of hope and determination.

Melki has assembled a talented production team at her new company, including Pierre P. Cardinal, CPA, Finance Director; Inga Sibiga, Production Coordinator; Emma Frattasio, Researcher & Digital Media; Roupen Markian, Production & Technical Assistant; Debra Kouri (Producer for Melki Films: Branded and Butterfly Hunters); Eric Brunt, Director & Editor, EB Collection and Roadside Heroes; and Jeremy Katz, Communications & Publicity Consultant.

Melki and the late Adam Pajot Gendron founded Rimouski-based Tortuga Films in 2006. Melki sold her interest in 2014 but continued to make films for Tortuga until 2020 as an independent filmmaker. For Tortuga, her films, some of which were made as English-language originals and others in French, include After Circus; Carricks, dans le sillage des Irlandais (Carricks, In the Wake of the Irish); and the FENCE.

Melki also created, curated and produced the highly acclaimed WAR Flowers: A Touring Art Exhibition/ Fleurs D’ARMES: une exposition d’art itinérante, an innovative, multi-sensorial exhibition exploring human nature in the landscape of war, through ‘floriography’, sculpture and scent. The exhibition moved audiences at every stop on its three-year tour, from its opening at Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens in Grand-Métis, Quebec, to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Campbell House Museum in Toronto, the Visitor Education Centre of the Canada National Vimy Memorial in Vimy, France, Château Ramezay Historic Site and Museum in Montreal, the Borealis Gallery in the Alberta Legislative Assembly Visitor Centre in Edmonton, and the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga.

Viveka Melki belongs to ARRQ, DOC Quebec, DOC Canada, and The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

Melki Films is a supporter of, and contributor to, the organizations Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders and Not Just Tourists/Plus que touristes.

Melki Films has also just launched its own website, www.melkifilms.com, with information about the company and its projects, as well as regularly updated news about Melki Films Inc. and its activities.

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