Sujata Day, Actor, Writer/Director: What their parents said or just because of what a community says or what society says in general, what you can and cannot do with your life, what you have to be doing at the age of 25, at the age of 27, at the age of 30.
Film Courage: I have a quote here I think from you “I decided to take it into my own hands and write the dream role I always wanted to play.”
Sujata: I’ve been in Hollywood for a while and I’ve auditioned for a lot of roles. A lot of the roles that I was auditioning for tended to be the same type of role. They were stereotypes, they were putting me in a box of these characters that would be going through an arranged marriage or they would have strict parents or they would be pursuing a career that they didn’t necessarily want to pursue but they were too afraid to do the other thing. I just noticed a couple of those roles I’m like Oh, okay this feels interesting. This feels like a new way of telling the story but then it just kept happening that it was the same role over and over and I didn’t understand it. Then I understood that Hollywood sees different ethnic groups as monoliths and only sees this person in this type of role as a doctor, or a smart tech person. For me I just wanted to be able to play a role where it was more nuanced and maybe there are bits and pieces of that.
In Definition Please, Monica [played by Sujata] does have a science background which is somewhat of a stereotype but I wanted to take that genius stereotype and that science background and merge it into something new that I hadn’t seen before and I said Okay, well she smokes weed and she hooks up with guys and and she’s pretty chill except in this one family department. It was exciting for me to play and create a role that had so many facets to it instead of this one thing and that’s what I set out to do. In terms of casting the roles in my film, a really fun story for me was…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
With her infectious personality and unique sense of humor, Pittsburgh native Sujata Day has established herself as a performer, creator, writer, and director. She regularly performs in Upright Citizen Brigade’s hit Asian AF show. Sujata is known for her starring role as CeCe in Issa Rae’s The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. She’s recurred for three seasons on HBO’s Insecure. Sujata is a Sundance Lab fellow, Sundance Film Festival influencer, and Sundance Collab advisor. Her short film, Cowboy and Indian, sold to a major studio for series development. She served as HBO Visionaries Ambassador in 2019. She directs This Is My Story, a series in which beloved storyteller LeVar Burton narrates real life personal experiences of everyday racism. Sujata’s debut award-winning feature film, Definition Please, is currently touring the film festival circuit.
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