More than effort and vision, creating an award-winning film takes patience and resilience. Just ask Vivek Rao Nipani, a student filmmaker from Hyderabad who is currently studying at the Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Vivek’s documentary feature A Tale Of Two Veils was recently shortlisted as a semi finalist at the Student Academy Awards — Oscars for student film submissions — and for him, it’s a validation of his choice to become a filmmaker.
For his master’s thesis, Vivek began shooting in the summer of 2014, and took about a year to complete it — just in time for his graduation. "I wanted to make a woman-centric, women-empowerment based film. I was working with a non profit in India (during a break), when a friend of mine got in touch with me saying they needed a photographer to document some of their work. And that’s where I got to meet and interact with the people who appear in my film," Vivek says.
The film, that follows the story of two women in rural Rajasthan dealing with patriarchy, also won the Best Documentary award at the Film Outside The Frame festival at Paramount Studios in LA, and will be premiering at another festival in Norwich, UK, at the end of August.
After graduating from Loyola Academy in Hyderabad in 2009, Vivek moved to Mumbai to try his hand in the film industry. After working as a third-assistant cameraman and then a digital technician, he realised that there was so much more to filmmaking to learn than just having a story in mind and so he moved to the US for his master’s degree in 2012.
"I realised that I needed to have a formal education in filmmaking. I just felt like I needed the exposure and the change in cultural thought process," Vivek says, adding, "All the filmmakers I’d met in Hyderabad shared the same passion, but the independent movie scene didn’t seem like a supportive one at the time."
Staying in the US also allowed him to meet award-winning filmmakers such as Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón, who also inspired him to make human-centric films.
Vivek now hopes that he can return to Hyderabad soon and find filmmakers here that he can collaborate with. He says, "I’m working on a feature documentary right now, called Built To Fail, and I’m also working on my own documentary for which I hope to have a story outline by the end of the year."