Fascinating stories and people are a true passion for director Sharad Kharé, and his award-winning documentary film The O-Show will be screened as a part of this year’s Indian Summer Festival on July 8, 2022. The documentary showcases the life and works of Orene Askew, also known as DJ O Show, a highly sought after DJ with several identities that inhabit many intersections.
Kharé, a documentarian and the founder of Human Biography, a content agency that showcases the biographies of incredible people around the world, follows a simple rule: “to work with people I love and admire.”
“I work with some of the most incredible people in the world,” he says. “I’ve documented the Dalai Lama, Meryl Streep, Val Kilmer, Maye Musk, and Susan Sarandon, to name a few, and I love fascinating stories.”
After seeing Askew speak at an event, to Kharé, she was certainly no exception.
“When I first met Orene, I saw her speak at an event,” says Kharé. “I walked up to her and asked her to work together, and she just inspired me with her energy and her fantastic story. We clicked right away, and when you click with someone so well, you know that the work is going to be fantastic.”
For Askew, working with Human Biography was both a great experience and an opportunity to showcase her business.
“It was a lot of fun and actually exactly what I’ve been looking for since I started my business about ten years ago – it’s hard when you are the sole proprietor and you are trying to get footage of what you do,” he says. “The crew was very understanding; it was a breath of fresh air finding a crew that let me tell the story.”
Additionally, Human Biography showed him the importance of embracing one’s story.
“What it justified for me was to keep it real – don’t change or modify your story for anyone because your story is unique and people want to hear your story,” says Askew. “From my Indigenous cultural background, that’s how we learn – through story telling – and that’s just something that has carried on for me without even thinking about it, and I really wanna thank Human Biography for letting me keep it real.”
For Kharé, the key message that he wants viewers to take away from the documentary is how Askew remains positive when faced with difficulties.
“No matter what adversity Orene has gone through in her life, she has risen above it all with class, dignity, and true spirit; she’s always smiling and elevating others even in tough times, and that’s the most admirable quality of any human,” he says.
In addition, he notes how when faced with biases and adversity, Askew continues to celebrate her identity.
“Orene grew up with a lot of bias. Yet, she said no – I’m going to use these biases to my advantage, and that is incredible: I’m proud of being Black, I’m proud of being Indigenous, and I’m proud of being Two-spirited,” he says. “You know, some people might think that being different is going to hurt you in life, but actually, Orene has shown everybody that it’s supposed to be celebrated in life, and we should be celebrating all our communities by looking at where we come from.”
Joy in identity
When asked about what she’d hope viewers would take from the documentary, Askew says she’d like them to be inspired.
“I want them to be inspired –something I’ve been talking about a lot lately is that having joy is almost an act of rebellion, and we don’t stop and just smell the roses,” she says. “A lot of the time, people will focus on the negative of my people, but we have so many joyful stories that are being put out there, and that’s what I want people to do. I’m not the only Afro-Indigenous person out there, but I want to put it into people’s heads that we exist and we have stories to tell.”
To learn more about the screening of The O Show taking place on July 8 visit here: www.indiansummerfest.ca