Interview with Filmmaker Bhushan Thakkar (RETURNING HOME)

RETURNING HOME was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the February 2021 Environmental Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I have been working with Richie for a few years. Producing commercial work for our clients. During various shoots, we often spoke about needing to tell a more compelling story with mountain biking as a vessel, but not the main subject. Practicing mindfulness when you’re outdoors, listening to the sounds of nature, photographing and filming landscapes has been very therapeutic for me personally. When the pandemic hit, it felt like the perfect time to get back to simple and work on a project that brought both together in a compelling way. That was the original thought and ethos for the film.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

We had an idea and formulated a pitch deck in June of 2020. However, it wasn’t until the end of September, that Richie and I started writing the script. All the pre-production happened around the same time, and our crew formed a sort of a “bubble” so that we can be as safe as possible. We left Southern California for Utah on October 11th. Began filming on the 12th, returning to California on the 17th. We shot some pickups in California and started editing. We had the finished edit around November 9th.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Hopeful and reflective

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

I guess the biggest hurdle for me personally was biking one of the trails in Cedar City. I had never really done that before. From a technical standpoint – challenging communication. For example, when filming Richie from across a valley or up a mountain and our walkie talkies didn’t work. Overall we could have faced much worse, but we had an awesome team with us to overcome any obstacles that came our way.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was excited to hear everyone give their take on the film. It seems to have invoked the kinds of emotions I was trying to hit.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. What are your passions in life?

Telling compelling stories is my passion, I feel so lucky to have turned that into a career.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

It’s probably a toss up between “Scent of a Woman”, and “Carlitos Way” when I was in High School, I could quote both of those movies. A close second is probably Godfather 1 & 2. I was a big Pacino fan.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are your feelings about the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

A great platform to find the right audience for our projects and manage submissions, acceptance, and rejection.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Anything my wife makes đŸ™‚

10. What is next for you? A new film?

My dream for some time has been to make a western. But for now I’ll be working on more travel based projects and telling stories in the outdoors.

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