(UN) SEEN, 7min., India, Dance
Directed by Anjana Ghonasgi, Pratik Iyer
‘Tethered between her own worlds of captivity and escapism, Maya finds herself.’
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
– (UN)SEEN is a deeply personal story. My creative expression has always been about connecting with myself. There are certain stories & experiences that can only be expressed through a visual medium and not told in words. This film was my way of doing just that.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
– I originally wrote the script in 2020 Pandemic lockdown. At the time I had no idea of how to go forward with making it. In June 2022 there was a call for submission for Manifest Dance Filmmaking Incubator by AuroApaar organisation based out of Pondicherry in South India. The incubator included mentoring sessions from prominent members in the field of filmmaking which I felt was the perfect starting point. My script got selected and over the course of 4.5 months or so between July & November 2022 we made the film.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
– Diary entry.
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
– I don’t think there were any big obstacles as such. The project was being worked on in parts virtually because the entire team was based out of different cities in India which means a lot of google meets and back & forth in emails. Haha! The actual 4 day shoot process was smooth sailing with the team. Personally, I found it challenging to disassociate myself with the story just enough to work through the logistics, at the same time not losing the emotion of it when it came to performing it on camera.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
– I was genuinely overwhelmed to hear people connect with the film and the story especially when there are no dialogues or even music as such, just movement & sound. The movement vocabulary is based in Indian classical dance and my own created hybrid dance style called “Mudra-Tutting”. And one of my aims is to make dance more accessible and relatable in a universal storytelling way. The flattering compliments on my performance has motivated me to continue exploring this medium. Also, I watched the audience feedback video with my parents and they had the biggest smile on their face which added to the overall happiness. Thank you for this.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
– In the 2020 Pandemic lockdown, I did a couple of commissioned digital works. As a dancer, stage and a live audience is what I was used to. The pandemic had us reorient to digital mode. And I found myself interested in engaging in the medium more. In 2021 when I made my first dance-film The Unblemished One, I completely immersed myself in the process of writing the script, composing music, choreography, etc. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I remember feeling a little empty at the end of the shoot and it was the best feeling ever. As a storyteller, I could indulge in all different mediums of creative expression to tell a singular story.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
– I actually don’t think I have a favourite film or the most seen film. I like a lot of things so it is always difficult for me to pick. Haha!
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
– Firstly, thank you so much for all that you are already doing. Dance-film/Art Films genre is still relatively niche in a lot of places. So networking events even virtual ones with fellow filmmakers and industry professionals would be very helpful and insightful.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
– The experience has been so smooth and rewarding. The process is very easy and very efficient on FilmFreeway.
10. What is your favorite meal?
– Home cooked South Indian meal which would be rasam & rice. I also do love pasta a lot.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
– Right now there are multiple projects in the works which are at multiple stages of development. A new film? Well yes of course but I have not yet begun work on it. Ideas are definitely floating around though.