Director and photographer India Sleem’s work focuses on telling human stories while capturing the delicate nuances of everyday life and characters with a vibrant cinematic style and distinct palettes. As a mixed-race person, she often shines a bright light on the diversity of culture. Through her endless curiosity and soothing demeanor, she forms genuine bonds with her subjects, and her ability to capture raw and honest moments translates to emotive and dynamic filmmaking.
India’s youthful enthusiasm is evident throughout her body of work and the uplifting and intimate experiences she creates. Her highly personable and inventive spirit has led to meaningful and ongoing collaborations in the advertising space, with an impressive collection of work over a short period of time for global brands including Apple, Nike, McDonald’s, Fenty, Gap, Square, Converse, and Vogue.
Most recently, India shot the joyful canine tale “The Invincibles” for Apple’s long-running “Underdog” campaign series.
This year, her work for Nike’s AirForce 40th Anniversary campaign was a finalist for Best Advertising Campaign at The AICP Show. In 2019, she was named to The One Club’s prestigious Young Guns 17 winners for her work including her film The Game, a golden hour love letter to New York City’s basketball culture, and photo series Indian Hills for Dazed & Confused Magazine.
Her films and still photography capture human portraits in a real-life context with an emotional connection to the talent and a strong sense of color and composition.
Born and raised in Manchester, and currently based in Los Angeles, the daughter of a DJ, India obsessively watched the music videos of Janet Jackson, Grace Jones, and M.I.A. and was inspired by photographers like Martin Parr. She spent her youth immersed in a melting pot of cultures, and as soon as she got her first camera, she began taking pictures and making films. Documenting the subcultures around her became a theme and an influence – she was watching Channel 4 documentaries on her iPod touch at night when her parents thought she was sleeping. She realized her hobby had the potential to become her full-time career when she learnt what a director was; by that time, she had already built her first reel.
India is currently in production on a short film, a semi-autobiographical look on growing up mixed race. She is also in development on her first feature film.
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