Fire, which was written, directed and produced by Mehta, opened the Perspective Canada Program at the 1996 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was runner up (with Fly Away Home) for the Air Canada People's Choice Award. It was also one of 29 films selected from over 1,400 for the prestigious New York Film Festival that year. It went on to win numerous awards at festivals, including the Federal Express Award for Best Canadian Film as chosen by the audience (Vancouver), two Silver Hugo Awards for Best Direction and Best Actress (Chicago), the Jury Award (Mannheim) and Favorite Foreign Film (Paris). Mehta followed with Earth, the second film in her trilogy of the elements Fire, Earth and Water. The screenplay is based on Bapsi Sidhwa's critically acclaimed novel, Cracking India, and was shot in New Delhi, India. It had its world premiere as a Special Presentation at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival. Earth won the Prix Première du Public at the Festival du film asiatique de Deauville, France, in March 1999, and the Critics' Award at the Schermi d'Amore International Film Festival, Italy, in April of the same year. Water, the third film in the trilogy, is currently on hold.
For television, Mehta has directed Benares, a one-hour episode of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, (the adventures of Indiana Jones as a boy) produced by George Lucas for ABC television. She also directed Travels with Father, the final episode of the series on location in Prague and Greece. Mehta was born in India and received a degree in philosophy from the University of New Delhi. She lives in Toronto.
Deepa Mehta Facts