Welcome to our new ongoing series of blog posts featuring interviews with our membership. The Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta is an artist-run co-operative that exists to facilitate and support the creation, exhibition, distribution, and preservation of independent film, video and new media art in Northern Alberta. What makes that all possible is the artists, filmmakers, and creators that are members of our society. Watch this space on #MembershipMonday as we highlight a different member weekly.
How did you start working in film and why?
My first introduction into filmmaking was through photography. I was doing digital and analog photography, and then I started working with a company that did wedding videos. That was sort of my first introduction into motion picture. From there, we started doing a bit more creative work beyond the standard wedding videos which peaked my interest. I veered off into my own path, started my own business and found a partner, Aasttha Khajuria, who was also on board. We’re kind of building this small empire together. A lot of her work has been focused around corporate clients and government nonprofits, but we also like to carve out time to pursue passion projects.
How did you find out about FAVA and why did you join?
I found FAVA when it was recommended to me for rentals. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I started to see this whole other community that I had no idea was in Edmonton. With photography, it was a very solo experience with just me and my camera but when you’re making films, it’s hard to do everything by yourself. You can do it, but either the vision has to be scaled down or you just need a lot more time and patience from your cast. Being able to see this whole collective of people who have a shared passion for making films, images, sound, production design, producing and all of the various crafts that are in filmmaking is so valuable. When you think of Edmonton, you don’t necessarily think about filmmakers. Usually Vancouver or Toronto comes to mind, but there’s a lot of talent here that needs to continue to foster. And that only happens because of a community like FAVA.
What was a great collaborative experience you’ve had on a project?
There was a project that we worked on last year for the Edmonton Convention Centre called When We Give Back, Edmonton Grows. We hired on quite a few crew members who were from FAVA. Having all of those people on set was a really cool experience because we had filmed it as a single take. That could not have happened without the level of crafts people that we had on set and the crew members working on cameras, lights, gripping and production design. It’s only possible when you have a group of people who are dedicated to what they love doing. Having that experience of everyone collaborating and reviewing the final shot, making those small little tweaks, and having those eyes on something that you might not be paying attention to is really important.
How has FAVA supported your filmmaking journey?
Rentals have been lifesaving at some points, and the programs are great. The instructors actually work in the industry and they’re working professionals, so they know what’s going on. But honestly, the biggest thing is having that community, a group of people who want to keep creating and push each other. Having conversations with other creative people who make you want to be more creative is a really powerful thing. I feel like once you get past a certain stage in life where if you’re not in the creative field or if you’re not doing things that are, you’re continually trying to pursue something greater, and it’s easy to plateau. But if you really want to challenge yourself, you will find people in a community like FAVA where you might just be having conversations that start the gears in your brain, and you start thinking, “maybe I can do something bigger.” Also fostering and educating more young creative people in Edmonton who want to stay in Edmonton. We want to build the film industry here.
How does it feel to present your work with an audience?
It’s pretty nerve wracking. We haven’t done it a lot but when we do present our work, I’m always looking for mistakes or nitpicking. I can’t take a third person’s objective to actually enjoy the experience, but usually when it’s done and there’s positive feedback, I can relax. I want to love it, I really want to sit back and think, “yeah, this is my best.” It’s just one of those things where in that moment you’re thinking “I should’ve done that differently,” or you have the options running through your head. I edit my own work a lot of the time so I sometimes see the alternatives that could have been taken but you know, that’s life.
What are you working on next?
A long term project that we are working on is a documentary about how women change their name after marriage and what that means for female identity. My partner Aasttha is very adamant on not changing last names and strongly believes that you get to choose who you want to be. She has had a lot of conversations with people with varying views on the topic and from those conversations, we decided to tell a story. That’s more of a passion project in its early stages, but I’d like to get some external backing so that we can turn it into a reality.
Where can we see your work?
Check out Prasann’s work here: https://www.baatcheet.ca/