After two weeks of struggling to communicate across a language barrier, waking up at 5am to obtain necessary shots and taking hours to find the perfect song, I finally completed my first professional international film! In 2007, Rachna Singh created the Literacy Centre as a way of providing extra tutoring for village children, with the hopes of better performance in school. The piece highlights the centre through the lens of two village girls, Saloni and Sonika, past graduates of the centre. After two interview attempts, we managed to get the perfect lighting and backdrop for the shot and were able to capture the extremely meaningful impact the centre has had on these two girls.
While my past film and documentary classes have trained me to produce successful documentaries, nothing could have prepared me for creating a film in which I could not understand the language in any capacity. While I had a translator with me, the dynamic of production was extremely different from anything I’ve ever created before. The editing process was especially tricky, as I had to spend tedious minutes subtitling dialogue in order to grasp the meaning behind their rather eloquent Hindi sentences. Once the film was finished however, a huge amount of pride was felt for completing such an, at first, daunting challenge. In the future, I hope to make international films, so this accomplishment is hopefully the first of many.
Perhaps the most rewarding moment of this film’s journey was taking a trip to the girls’ small village and showcasing the result to them and their family and friends. Gathered around a small plastic table with chai in hand, the villagers watched my film and smiled at the girls on the screen. They applauded the film at the end and found it beautiful to watch. At that moment, all the past struggle of creation instantly became worth it.