Mentoring in India

I landed in Delhi in late June. I'm here on a Relationship Assessment Journey (The RAJ, someone quipped) as my man is based here for work.

Since immersion, I've got through a massive amount of marking directors' treatments for the VCA Film School (I'm sometimes an external assessor); done some research work for Prospero Productions; and put together directorial notes for a factual series I'm being considered to direct (fingers crossed). Has been a productive time and I'm living like an ex-pat, not a tourist. Haven't even seen the Taj Mahal yet!

Kathryn Deyell and Totara Jack
(image: Vinimay Kaul)
Over the last few weeks I've mentored the lovely Kathryn Deyell as she directed a music video for Totara Jack. An Australian diplomat working in Delhi, Kath and I met through friends. Kath has a background in photography, arts funding and production. She was an absolute delight to work with, and being a mentor director for the first time was a really valuable.

I have been mentored by fantastic and generous directors Jess Hobbs, Jo O'Shaughnessy and Matt Saville. But I didn't realise what a useful mind-shift it would be for me to act as mentor, to break-down my craft through supporting an emerging director.

Kath and I talk shop.
I realised things I do subconsciously when directing; such as keeping positive momentum up on set, finding productive ways to use downtime (the talented Indian costume designer was over 4 hours late), shot listing on the fly, and sticking to a schedule. It was also an very interesting to have to stay focussed as a director, but to stand back and let Kath have autonomy, but to be able to help her where required.

image: Edward Harvey
We shot over the weekend just gone, in a very 'Indian' studio outside of Delhi - a long way from Bollywood! KD's concept was ambitious, and involved a Red Epic, buckets of coloured Holi Festival powder, a large crew of Indians and volunteer friends.

There was a fair bit of translation required between us Aussies, and the Indian crew. Thank goodness for the fantastic Vinimay and Subhashani of  SDVAK Studios - two Indian media professionals that translated and bridged the cultural divide. When I asked for a pancake or apple box, no translation was required! 

Pallavi Sharda, as Australian Bollywood star, is a sharply intelligent and immensely fun actress to work with. I'm hoping there's a project in the not too distant future I can work with her on. 

Unfortunately I won't be able to continue mentoring KD in post, but the rushes are luscious.

Holi powder!! 

Pallavi with volunteer Ed
(genius decision to bring
gorilla suit)
Me as Pallavi's stand-in dancer


POPPY does Bondi

POPPY screens at Flickerfest this Saturday 6:45pm & Sunday 4:30pm in Best of Australian 1 sessions. 

For a sneak preview, or if you can't make it, here be a complimentary taster.

POPPY was written by the very snazzy Niki Aken, and here's some juicy background notes on her nerve-wrecking time as a 35mm projectionist that inspired the short film.