Who knew that in the stunning human clarity in the cinema of Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, there lay the seeds of inspiration for a Bengaluru girl who would direct her own film before she graduated from college? Aditi Sivaraman was 16 when she discovered the wonders of the particular brand of filmmaking that Iñárritu had unleashed upon viewers. Today she is 22 years old and her short film Departure is to be screened at the Bangalore International Short Film Festival, after winning the Special Jury Mention at the Film and Television Institute of India.
A wildlife conservationist, Aditi has recently completed the four year diploma course in digital video production from Srishti. “My film [selected among 114 films out of 3150 submissions] – deals with the case of animal encroachment. We often say that it is unfair on animals to have humans encroaching upon their land, but what about the humans whose land is lost? I interned with a wildlife filmmaker and discovered the situation in the Agumbe area. Because this was my diploma film, I had three months to make it. I was initially working on another script which did not take off. So this one had only one and half months hard work behind it,” says Aditi.
The village of Melandur where she shot the story of a prodigal son returning to see to the issue of his father being injured by an elephant proved to be the ideal location for such a story. “We shot there over one intensive week. The casting of the younger son was quite interesting. There was a guy called Sunil who was showing me around the village. I thought to myself that this degree of familiarity would be difficult to portray by a city actor, so I cast Sunil! We did not have electricity, so we had to connect to a generator from three doors down. It was quite the challenge,” says Aditi.
A singer, actor, playwright as well, Aditi wants to study cinema more before she is ready to work in the field. “I have sung in shows with my sister, performed in plays, and written a few. Right now, I am trying to figure out how to get out of a family engagement, so that I can attend the BISFF and watch all the films from around the globe,” laughs Aditi....