Saroja (Maria-Saroja Ponnambalam) is a filmmaker, interdisciplinary artist and creative producer with Venezuelan and Tamil-South Indian roots based in Treaty 13 territory (Toronto/Tkaronto), who embraces DIY approaches to filmmaking and music creation.
Pandi, her debut feature documentary, is an intimate moving diary that explores her uncle’s film practice, his experience as a newcomer in Canada and mental health struggles via his personal archives, screenplays and films. It screened at Calgary International Film Festival, among many other international festivals and community screenings. Her music documentary, Fotdella won the Best Canadian Short award at Regina International Film Festival.
Her films and video installations have been supported by Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council and the National Film Board of Canada. In 2015, she was granted the Ontario Arts Council’s K.M. Hunter Artist Award in Media Arts.
From 2011-2014, she had private solo music project playing lo-fi improvised folktronica as Jacklyn Dudu, which she decided to release into the world in 2023. In March of 2023, she also released new music as Cocoa Forward – an EP featuring lo-fi, dream pop electronic dance tracks with ephemeral vocals.
She holds a Master of Arts in Human Geography from University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production from York University.
She firmly believes in the power of BIPOC womxn, (dis)abled, neurodivergent, trans and non-binary peers shaping their own stories, and removing as many barriers as possible to do so.