Mom & Me (post-production)


A daughter misses the South Asian mother who raised her, a vibrant award-winning social worker. After living together during the pandemic, the daughter confronts her mother’s 20-year struggle with depression, becomes a caregiver and accepts their new reality.

Brief Synopsis

Mom & Me encapsulates my relationship with my mother, Shipra Somani, an 82-year-old retired, award-winning social worker and widow, as we spend most of 2021 together weathering her depression and a global pandemic. My mother’s mental illness was instigated by the loss of her husband (my dad) 20 years ago. In recent years, she’s been doing better in the summers, where she regains her independence and strength and no longer feels depressed. While my mother regains her independence and strength in the summer, she still has not come to terms with a long- term plan, which I hope to uncover in the film.

Artistic Approach

As with her other films that encompass India and/or Indian culture, religion, immigration and family, Indira weaves observational footage plus archival footage (8mm footage shot between 1966-1979) and still pictures, to share this powerful mother-daughter. The story will captivate the audience with their touching and humorous moments throughout the film, which takes place mainly in Springfield, IL, but also includes Denver, LA and Atlantic City, NJ.


  • SAHMIN (South Asian Mental Health Initiative & Network), 2023
  • Khushalani Foundation, 2022
  • Caucus Foundation, 2022
  • Developing the Short Film (UCLA) 2022
  • Carole Fielding Grant (UFVA) 2022
  • Mary Pickford Award 2022
  • Mary Pickford Award 2021
  • Center for the Study of Women 2021

Key Crew

Indira S. Somani - Director/Producer
Indira Somani’s documentary films focus on India and/or the Indian diaspora. Her award-winning short documentaries include: Life on the Ganges (2017), a film Somani shot, directed and produced, while in India on a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellowship in 2011. Crossing Lines (2007) is a personal documentary about Somani’s connection to India after the loss of her father. This film won numerous awards, screened in film festivals nationally and internationally, aired on PBS affiliates through NETA from 2008-2011. Both films are distributed by New Day Films. Prior to pursuing documentary films, Somani was a television news producer for 10 years, and a broadcast journalism professor for 18 years. Soman has taught broadcast journalism at four universities in the Washington, DC area, most recently at Howard University. She has also been a leader of SAJA, South Asian Journalists Association. Indira also earned her MFA in Directing/Production in the Documentary track at UCLA, her Ph.D. in Journalism and Public Communication from The University of
Maryland and an MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Jennifer Crystal Chien - Story Producer
Jennifer Crystal Chien is a documentary filmmaker with a focus on personal storytelling from underrepresented communities. She has produced and directed several documentaries focused on stories from the Chinese, Guyana, Polish, and Turkish immigrant communities, including Waiting for Bekir, Advayam, 3JahLove7, and one little bird. Her films have screened at film festivals nationally, including the Atlanta International Documentary Film Festival and Big Apple Film Festival. Previously, she worked as a Production Manager for films for PBS broadcast and appearing at Sundance Film Festival, including The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution and Freedom Summer. She is a recipient of the Center for Cultural Innovation’s Investing in Artists grant for artistic innovation and is a former filmmaker-in-residence with the Center for Asian American Media. In 2017, she co-founded Re-Present Media, a grassroots nonprofit that advocates for personal storytelling in documentary film and nonfiction media. Her advocacy and education work was recognized with a 2022 DOC NYC Documentary New Leaders award. She has an MFA in Social Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Raquel Hagman - DP/Producer
Raquel Hagman is a Cinematographer with a strong background in both narrative and documentary films. Originally from Florida with strong ties to her Puerto Rican roots, Hagman graduated from the University of Central Florida with a BFA in Film Production. After graduation, she worked as a videographer/editor for the NBC local news affiliate in Cleveland Ohio, where she earned a regional Edward R. Murrow award for an investigative series on the opioid crisis 'Riders on the Storm' in 2018. Hagman has also been nominated for regional Emmy awards as a News Videographer/Editor. Hagman earned her MFA from UCLA’s Graduate Cinematography program, where she was the DP on several narrative thesis films and worked as grip/electric and a gaffer.

Myron Santos - Editor
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Emmy-nominated editor Myron Santos got his start working for independent documentary producers, on projects ranging from Tibet-China relations to the architectural history of Washington, DC. Since moving to Los Angeles, he has edited in a variety of genres, from comedy sketches for Upright Citizens Brigade Theater to game trailers for Blizzard Entertainment to scripted dramatic short films. He earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia and is a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.