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Interview with director Dayakar Padayachee and producer Pelisha Somiah

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

From a very young age, i believed film was my means of expressing myself. It started with a simple cliche’ Star Wars as my father took me to see it and The Lion King and ever since that day, i wanted to tell stories. I only truly entered film in 2013.

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

As Quentin Tarantino promptly claimed, he doesn’t go to film school, he goes to films. Of course different roads for different people, but i believe simply watching movies can help you learn best on what not to do and what to do.

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

I knew that it would cost my family time and money to get me to the doors i needed to go, but last year taught me some form of independence and it helped me be more hard working, because nothing comes for free if you don’t work hard and what you believe in.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

Being Humble, and allowing others to help shape your piece of work into something better. It is one of the biggest lessons, any director or filmmaker can get.

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?

We had to do a lot of things to cut corners, but when you’re suffering , it urges you to work even harder, and break the laziness of this is an impossible task. Many shots had to be put on the editing floor, many cutaways could not be filmed due to time constraints on set. Many lines were changed from the script, that i wish made the cut, but after all that, we managed to make a cohesive film which i’m proud of.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

In almost all the film’s i’ve directed, the hardest artistic choices were based on a financial constraint that would undermine or compromise certain things here and there on all forms of production. Whether it was editing , shooting or full on audio production.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

We’ve just networked, in local film festivals and social media and became very close net of people. We have a like mindedness and help each other grow and constantly continue to work on different projects.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

I personally feel, while it is beneficial to know a market, to not pander to an audience is incredibly key as well. We need to be able to find a human relevance in our stories and then create it so much so that it can tick the boxes for an audience member. Whether or not everyone appreciates it, it part of the package of making movies.

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

I think Film Festivals are the platform for small time filmmakers to make a name for themselves, because anyone in the industry could notice them and help them grow and evolve their expertise. Lately film festivals are the reason i continue to stay in the independent field. People at festivals appreciate the type of story you’re trying to tell, which perhaps would fall by the wayside in a general audience viewing.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

I don’t think any filmmaker should be safe in their style. I think if you feel the need to shoot it any how, as long as it is in the structure of basic film making 101, then by all means go wild. It is nice for a film maker to be original and fresh, but sometimes, finding what works and is already in existence is good too and far easier to adapt from.

  • What qualities or attributes do you look for in people you are looking to employ or work with?

An open mind. A gallery of ideas and the ability to listen. That helps me find comfort in working with someone like that.

  • Would you recommend writers think like a producer when writing their script? Or, just write with reckless abandon and then worry about the cost, or whatever, after they’ve grabbed a producer’s attention.

I think its really good to have a producer’s mind when writing. Especially if you’re an indie filmmaker or beginner. The business and investments people make should allow you clarity when writing your film so that you avoid any issues in the future. But it is also important to just write any cool idea you have.

  • How involved in the writing of a project do you get? Are you more involved in the initial development?

I write all my projects from treatment to script. I just prefer it that way.

  • If you had an unlimited budget at your disposal, what would be your dream production project?

I have many projects i’d love to do; but on an unlimited budget I’d love to do a very passionate horror series i’ve been developing as well as a Sci-fi film.

  • What does the future of film look like?

I think now with the rise of streaming services and the Oscar’s even noticing Netflix productions. Film is easy to find a platform for, however cinema concerns me, we’re heading into a future where the idea of cinema seems archaic and as a cinema fan, i find that quite unfortunate. Unless us filmmakers of the new age can change that, the future of film is worrisome.