I am Chandni Srivastava and I am an independent filmmaker. I was very young when I had joined Xaviers Institute of Communication, Mumbai and I was still exploring options when filmmaking happened to me. During that one year of my Post Graduation course I ended up watching 2-3 films everyday. It was my professor Vikas Desai who egged me on to tell my own stories and by the end of the course I realised that I had a voice and stories that I wanted to share with the world.
In terms of genre I enjoy experimental cinema and docu-fiction. There are lot of filmmakers who inspire me but I really admire Wong Kar Wai for his visual imagery and Martin Scorsese for his interesting and unique treatment that he brings to his films. Then there is Paul Thomas Anderson who I think has a brilliant control over his filmmaking craft. Some of my favourite movies are Chungking Express, My Blueberry Nights, Taxi driver, Departed, Punch Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood.
‘We live in a fantasy world, a world full of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality’, a quote by Iris Murdoch summarises this film to some extent. Here is an experimental film which is open to audience’s interpretation. It’s about discovering our reality by connecting with nature that co exists in a world filled with reveries and illusion. Everything is ‘Here’, we only find what we seek.
Even though have not been able to attend most of my screenings, I was overwhelmed with the response it has received so far because I didn’t anticipate it. I plan to attend the South Korean screening happening in November and I am really looking forward to it. For any filmmaker, if a film stays with the viewers, it is a big achievement and I hope the same for Here.
In 2015, even before I had made my last documentary, the concept of Here was already taking shape in my mind. It all came together once I realised that I needed to put my travel stories together. That itself took about 2-3 years. Around the same time I started learning Transcendental Meditation and the story started taking a better form soon after.
I had been wondering for a while about what helps the mind calm down. Physically when the body tires out, you go to sleep, but what do you do when your mind is bogged down by everyday nothings. This is where Art steps in and this is what I wanted to talk about with this film. Technically the film got made on the editing table because that is where the visual structure of the film emerged for me. In the end, I was conflicted about adding a voice over because I didn’t want to influence the viewer, but I was also not sure if my idea would come across without it. Eventually I let go of the voice over and its exciting to hear the various interpretations that people have of the same film.
Next, I want to do a short fiction film and I am already in the ideating process.