Nimisha Mukerji Presents America’s Most Iconic Exotic Dancer

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Toronto: Directed by Toronto­ based Nimisha Mukerji, Tempest Storm is a fascinating documentary that explores the controversial life story of America’s most iconic exotic dancer, who at age 87 (now 88) is trying to reconcile with the family she walked away from 50 years ago. The film raises issues of class, gender and race. Tempest Storm was declared one of the sexiest women of all time by Hugh Hefner and iconized by cult filmmaker Russ Meyer. She was bedmate to both Elvis and JFK, and became an international star on the stage and screen in the 1950s. But she also lost Hollywood contracts after pursuing an interracial marriage with Duke Ellington’s lead singer Herb Jeffries. Fame itself also came at a cost. In the film, we see Tempest, hoping to reconnect with her siblings, ex­husband Herb and estranged daughter. Born in a leap year, Tempest likes to point out that she is really only 22 years old. Today, she maintains her fiery red hair and a figure that still slips into her showgirl costumes from decades gone by. She came from humble beginnings as a cotton picker in rural Georgia. The film uses never­before­seen photos, archival footage and interviews, merging her dramatic past (abusive childhood, four marriages) with an emotional cinema verité unfolding in the present. Producer/director Nimisha Mukerji was born in Toronto, and raised/ educated in Vancouver. Her award­winning documentaries include 65 RedRoses (selected for Oprah Winfrey’s Documentary Club on OWN) and Blood Relative (winner of Audience Award at VIFF 2012). The film will open June 17 in Toronto and Vancouver.