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This Apeejay alumna’s film got shortlisted for Netflix’s Take Ten contest

Budding filmmaker and School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumna Rupa Barua shares insights into her creative process

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Rupa Barua, an alumna from School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC), Apeejay Stya University (ASU) has always been a social butterfly. The budding filmmaker loves exploring stories, enjoys watching movies as well as imagining the most bizarre things possible. So, after Rupa completed her BA (Hons) in Journalism and Mass Communication from Apeejay in 2018, she went to Kolkata for an internship. She spent her time travelling, recording people and working on a couple of freelancing gigs with a German filmmaker. Rupa’s exploration led her to the corporate side, where she has been a part of multiple corporate entities in helping them build an impactful communication strategy and focusing on the overall digital marketing roadmap. “In my journey on working with projects with Google, a few NGOs and Elon Musk’s sister, I have had the opportunity to be a part of an extensive spectrum of the corporate world that widened my horizon of storytelling,” she emphasised. In an interview, the passionate filmmaker, talks about her experience with Netflix and more. Edited excerpts: 

Your short film was shortlisted for Netflix India contest. Please share what it was about and your experience of working on this project?

The theme for the Netflix and Film Companion Pan India contest was “My India” where I had to create a two-minute film. This was quite a challenging task to think of an out of the box idea and compile it within the given time limit. I had less than a week to submit my entry when I saw an old man yelling at his security guard for permitting a stray dog inside the society premises. So, apparently, most of the societies till date do not allow sheltering of stray dogs. In fact, a stray dog without a pack is constantly hunted down, and oppressed by the alpha pack. This is how my film Caramel came into shape and I was one of the top 200 finalists. 

Any new films you are currently working on? What’s the storyline? 

Yes, I am working on a couple of projects that might go on the floor at the end of the year. Unfortunately, I can not reveal the storyline as of now, but all I can say is that it is derived from experiences that we see around us.  

What inspires you to make movies? Do you aspire to make a big-budget film some day?

More than inspiration, it is the “craving” to tell a story. I always search for the reasonings about the things happening around me and in the world, and that search leads me to stories, and this has been the inception of my craving to make movies. Definitely, who isn’t looking forward to making a marvel film. 

What are the toughest aspects of making a film today?

I guess the toughest aspect of making a film today is the “willingness”. The ‘willingness’ to come up with a good story, and if that aspect of the box is checked, then you have to fight for the budget, which I am currently doing for my next project.

Creating a film needs a lot of expertise and patience because one has to handle everything. So, what keeps you motivated?

True, it requires a lot of patience and perseverance but it’s the story and the dedication to narrate the story that keep me motivated. Like in  Caramel, I was dealing with the stray dogs. So I had to wait for hours and hours to take one shot because they were neither domestic nor trained. At times, I waited till 3 am or 4 am to get the right shot. Indeed, one also has to know every aspect and technicality of filmmaking. I shot and edited  Caramel, and I was lucky that I knew the skills that I had picked up in my college days. 

Name your favourite film and the director whose work you admire the most?

There are so many films and directors who I look up to for understanding the world they created and their different styles of filmmaking. My list includes Satyajit Ray, Woody Allen, Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, Quentin Jerome Tarantino, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Bong Joon-ho. I have grown up watching their films before I even knew who they were and what filmmaking was. 

Is digital technology an opportunity or a threat in filmmaking? 

If we are using the digital space wisely, then it is an opportunity in filmmaking, at least for the younger generation. It’s because it gives us the freedom to speak our mind, and in today’s time we can shoot a film on phone and send it across festivals and get recognised for our work. So of course, it’s a blessing in disguise. 

How did SJMC groom you to face the challenges of the job market?

Just like how the spinal cord has 33 bones, SJMC has helped me shape up my creative journey. The institute served as the spine for me where I got my first exposure to the media world. The amount of hard work and drilling that happened at SJMC has really helped me face the challenges of the creative world – be it in screenwriting or editing. I am blessed and glad that I had such a supportive team of mentors who went above and beyond in helping me, even when I had graduated. SJMC is a family that I can always go back to for guidance.

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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