Born in London to a South African mother and Romanian father, Varda fell in love with film one summer night at a beachside hotel in Israel. She caught sight of a couple as tall as a building kissing outside her bedroom window. That larger than life couple was actually just an actor and actress from a scene in A Man and A Woman, which was being projected onto a massive screen at a nearby movie theater, but the damage was done: Varda was mesmerized by the passion emanating from the screen and a love affair with film began.
It was Varda’s 8th grade English teacher, Mr. Mohan, who, after lending her an 8mm camera, inspired the young film maker to start putting her own movies together. Varda’s film education continued at Cornell University, under the tutelage of Cultural Anthropology Professor Robert Asher. Like Mr. Mohan, Professor Asher encouraged Varda to pick up a super-8 camera instead of pen and paper to “write” her reports.
Varda studied directing at Cornell, received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and worked as an assistant director and then script supervisor on feature films, television shows and commercials.She leaped into directing with the short film WINDOW, starring Louis Gossett, Jr. about a veteran desperate for the bed by the window. WINDOW received an enthusiastic reception on the festival circuit winning multiple awards which let to a screening at the Cannes Film Festival.
Since then Varda has had the privilege of creating uniquely meaningful, compelling and imaginative content ranging from feature projects to branded entertainment for multiple platforms including theatrical, broadcast, web and mobile. Her work hastoured the festival circuit and has been honored with prestigious awards including YouTube’s Most Innovative Non-Profit Video Award, A Silver Telly for her PSA “Journey To Safety” and the New Filmmakers/LA On Location Project Grand Prize valued at $100,000. SHOOT Magazine featured Varda’s work in their coveted New Filmmaker’s Showcase. Her work has also been aired on major networks including CBS, NBC, ABC as well as The Documentary Channel and PBS. In addition, Varda’s work has gone viral on the web amassing more than a million views.
Varda will be serving as Guest Faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute for the Spring Semester of 2014.