UNTITLED premieres at SAIFF

SAIFF 2006The South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) is one of two South Asian film festivals in New York. They pride themselves on focusing on emerging directors who are not yet famous.

I certainly fall squarely into that demographic. I’d like to think I am “emerging” and I am definitely “not yet famous”. And so, it was with excitement that I learned a few weeks ago that my film got into SAIFF 2006.

UNTITLED was made as my final project of the 12-week Intensive Filmmaking program at NYU. It was shot in 3 days, with a crew of just 4, on 16mm film. It was a complete blast. My experience with the course and that film is what got me to quit my day job and to do this full time (my experience with the course is fodder for another post).

But I digress. When I finished the film, I put it away thinking that I’d got what I wanted from it — the learning of how to write, direct, produce and edit a film under severe constraints. [Well, that is not quite true, I did submit it to Ms Films in North Carolina where it got accepted and one other festival where it got dinged, but I did not spray it around to every festival in sight]. But when one of my cast sent me the SAIFF request for submissions, I tossed it in the mail on a lark.

Lo and behold, it got selected! This will be the first time I see my work in a real theater. That is exciting and scary all at the same time. Exciting because this is what filmmakers live for – to see their film released (or screened). And I am nervous as all heck because it was a class project – an experiment, a learning exercise, an amazing experience. And now it will be shown to friends and strangers. I feel the desperate need to yell out — “Don’t expect it to be amazing, it is just my first little short”. But I am doing my best not to. I want it to be judged. That’s the only way I’ll get better.

So, here we go!

SAIFF got underway today for filmmakers with the press conference. The key feature-length films were highlighted and it was fun to mingle and meet other aspiring filmmakers. It is great to see the energy and passion for film in the South Asian community.

Since I am now self-employed (ahem, no, no, not unemployed!), I am looking forward to seeing as many of the films as possible, starting with tomorrow’s opening night premiere.

— To see UNTITLED on the SAIFF site, click here and scroll towards the end of the page.

— Synopsis: Sanjay and his wife lead a cookie cutter existence in Manhattan. One day, as he returns home, he is handed a flyer to a gallery opening and on a whim, decides to attend. Siddharth, the gallery owner, educates Sanjay on art and introduces him to a captivating painting. With Siddharth, as his bodhisattva, leading the way, Sanjay is more ensnared with each successive visit. Has Sanjay found what he has always been looking for?

— Note: UNTITLED will be uploaded to this site shortly