Hello, Friends! It has been such a long time since I posted a blog. So much has happened. It would be impossible to catch up. So, I'll time warp back to just a couple weeks ago when I attended the Deep in the Heart Film Festival in Waco, TX which was the last film festival screening of our short film “Priyanath.”
Our film had a wonderful festival run and it was nice to end that run at Deep in the Heart, a remarkable new film festival that is close to home in more ways than one. During my time in Waco, I met talented filmmakers, hung with the locals, saw films that made me say "wow," explored the city's history and cuisine, hit up touristy Magnolia where I stocked up on sugary goodness from Silos Bakery and I even found a little time to work on my red carpet poses which I don't think I have down quite yet. (Are there classes for that?)
A big shout out to Samuel Thomas and Louis Hunter, Co-Directors of the Deep in the Heart Film Festival, for putting together a wonderful festival experience. I can’t wait to return next year.
Now even though the “Priyanath” film festival days are over, you may still be able to catch the film at theaters around the world as part of the Women in Film and Television Film (WIFTI) Showcase. Yep! We are super excited to report that the film was selected amongst numerous other film submissions to represent the work of women filmmakers around the world. We are honored to be a part of this amazing showcase.
The Origin of Priyanath
Some of you may know the film “Priyanath” was inspired by a story found within the spiritual classic “Autobiography of a Yogi” written by Paramahansa Yogananda. Published in 1946, the book has sold millions of copies, been translated into forty-eight languages and inspired countless individuals worldwide. I find myself continually inspired by the book and the Kriya Yoga teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. I invite you to come learn more about the man and the teachings first hand at the free lecture and meditation event “Finding Peace Through Meditation” held at 7pm, Wednesday, April 11th at Unity of Dallas. Feel free to bring a friend. All are welcome to attend! Learn more at www.meditationevent.com.
Until next time!
Peace and Love,
I’m super excited to be working on a new short film called Priyanath. It’s the story of six-year old, Priyanath, an adventurous, mischievous boy who imagines himself to be a superhero taking down imaginary villains with his extraordinary powers. But when Priyanath learns of a real danger near his home, he has to decide if he’s actually got what it takes to be a real life superhero!
Although Priyanath (played by Likith Yalam) likes to imagine himself as an international superhero, like most six year-olds, he spends most of his time at home. In the film, the kitchen is the central place where the story begins to unfold. In one of the main scenes, Priyanath climbs up into a chair and doodles while his mother, Kadambini, (played by Krishna Smitha) prepares a meal for her family.
We spent a lot of time in the kitchen on this production and bringing authenticity to the kitchen scene was highly important. I wanted it to look like Kadambini was actually cooking dinner. And I wanted to create a visual feast for the audience so that they could actually taste and smell the fragrant spices of a delicious, Indian meal. So, what did we do? We brought in lots of food! After all, what’s more authentic to a kitchen than food?
As you can see in the production stills, we had lots of food, especially fresh produce on set. Zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, onions, green beans. These brightly colored, nutritious props added life, color and realism to our set and helped paint the picture of Priyanath’s family and their home.
I wasn’t the only one who thought it smelled good. When we wrapped that evening, I found out that a few of our crew members wanted to take the prop soup home for dinner. Before they took it, they asked me what was in it and if it was okay to eat. (After all, it was prop soup. Anything edible or non-edible could be in it.) I was shocked! I couldn’t imagine such a thing - eating prop soup! I laughed heartily and scolded them: “Who eats prop soup? Are you kidding me? And why would you take home prop soup instead of the good, homemade food we had for lunch? That food was made with love. There’s no love in prop soup. It’s utilitarian in nature. Seriously, who would eat prop soup of all things?!”
They just laughed and carried away their bags of prop soup, paying me no mind.
One of the things I love most about filmmaking is the collaboration. I love how each person brings their talents and skills to a project, making it better than a singular person’s efforts alone. I often compare the art of filmmaking (and theatrical productions) to making soup. Everyone adds something different, spicy, creative and exciting to the pot. And what we end up with is a unique, cohesive piece of art. As artists, we hope that our piece of art is brilliant, stunning or good at the very least. And when it is finished, everyone who helped create that piece of art walks away with a tangible or intangible piece of it.
Looking back, I can’t help but feel that our pot of prop soup is its own character in our film. We envisioned it, bought its ingredients, chopped them, stirred it and simmered it. It even got a nice close-up shot which will be included in the film. And at the end of the day, when all was said and done, some of us took it home. I won’t soon forget that pot of prop soup. And if I do, I’ve got a prop soup burn mark in the bottom of that big, red pot to help me remember!
You can learn more about the film, the inspiration behind it and get a sneak peek of footage from the film by visiting our Indiegogo campaign page at http://igg.me/at/priyanath. We're raising funds to finish the film on Indiegogo.com. We'd love your support! And please spread the word. Thank you!
Looking for Superheroes to Fund Film
Hello, Everyone! We have exciting news to share. This Wednesday, we launched the Indiegogo fundraising campaign for the short film Priyanath. This is a fun, family film about a six year-old boy named Priyanath who imagines himself to be a superhero taking down imaginary villains with his extraordinary powers. Fighting pretend bad guys is easy. But when he learns of a real danger near his home, Priyanath must decide if he’s actually got what it takes to be a real life superhero!
I am the writer/producer/director of this film. It's a true passion project and I can't wait to share it with you! The film stars Krishna Smitha, Ram Lakkoju and Likith Yalam as Priyanath. You can learn more about the film, the inspiration behind it AND get a sneak peek of footage from the film by visiting our Indiegogo campaign page at http://igg.me/at/priyanath.
Time is Ticking on Reaching Our $7,000 Goal
We began shooting the film at the end of the summer and are close to finishing production. But we need your help to get us to the finish line! We've started a campaign on the Indiegogo website and are committed to raising $7,000 by December 24th! That's not a lot of time, but we know we can do it with help from superheroes like yourself. Here's how you can help.
Ways to Support our Fundraising Campaign
Please click this link, http://igg.me/at/priyanath, to view our Indiegogo campaign page. There you'll see our fundraising video, learn about our fantastic cast and crew and, of course, you can make a donation to help bring this film to life. When you donate, you become our superhero and we've got some exciting perks to send your way! We're giving away DVDs of the film, the film soundtrack, posters, T-shirts and more. We'd really love your support! And we thank you in advance for viewing our campaign!
Likith smiles for a photo while taking a break on set.
Cast members Krishna Smitha and Ram Lakkoju pose for a picture with Tracey Hill (hair/make-up and wardrobe. Krishna Smitha (left), Tracey Hill (center), Ram Lakkoju (right).
Ghouls, ghosts and goblins! We have arrived at one of my favorite days of the year - Halloween! In anticipation of this fabulous, spooky, fun holiday, I’ve decorated the house with ghosts, spiders and their webs, dismembered body parts, monsters and bats flying overhead. What can I say? I’m excited like a kid ready to knock door-to-door for delicious, sugary treats.
I’m already well into my Halloween celebration. This past Sunday, I threw my family’s traditional Halloween party, an event I’ve taken over for my dearly departed mother who always found so much joy in throwing family dinners and get togethers, including our annual Halloween party. Over the years, our family has celebrated the holiday with storytelling, games, pumpkin carving competitions, scary movies, trick-o-treating and lots of good food and sweet treats.
I suppose one of the reasons I love Halloween is that it’s filled with family and fun. But I also love Halloween because it’s the one day of the year you can be whatever you choose to be. A day of dress up when you can don a costume or mask and be free of gender, race and age and, therefore, the preconceived notions of others based upon them.
And isn’t it just fun to play dress up? To imagine yourself to be stronger, braver, wilder, wackier, more famous, more powerful, more super than you already are? Or maybe you’re the type who likes to dip into the dark side and explore the menacing and macabre, dressing up as something wicked, undead or down-right terrifying.
With a plethora of superhero and zombie films ruling the box office over the past several years, superhero and zombie Halloween costumes are as popular as ever. Now, dragging my undead body around trying to avoid a Zombieland double tap doesn’t sound nearly as fun as having superhuman, physics-defying, superpowers and saving the world. That said, I’d choose being a superhero over a zombie any day.
Actually, I love superheroes and long for superpowers so much that I began producing and directing a superhero short film titled Priyanath this fall.
The film stars Likith Yalam who plays six year-old Priyanath, a boy who imagines himself to be a superhero taking down imaginary villains with his extraordinary powers. Fighting pretend bad guys is easy. But when Priyanath learns of a real danger near his home, he must decide if he’s actually got what it takes to be a real life superhero. And one ominous night will determine his fate. Will young Priyanath become a hero or fall victim to the danger around him? Well, you’ll have to wait to see the film to find out! Inspired by true events, Priyanath is a thrilling, superhero tale, embodying the spirit of youth and fearlessness.
It’s been a blast working on the film. We’ve have a talented crew of professionals and an outstanding cast to bring this film to life. Our cast includes Krishna Smitha and Ram Lakkoju who star alongside our young star Likith Yalam. Working with Likith and dressing him up as a superhero reminded me a lot of Halloween. We got to play and use our imaginations to create our own little world. And it’s been a lot of fun. I guess one of the best things about filmmaking is that it’s a lot like Halloween, full of costumes, make-up and characters; and sometimes it’s scary too!
Happy Halloween, Everyone!
Anietie Antia-Obong is the founder of Shaken World Screenworks, the go-to, full service, video production company for the world’s the movers, shakers, innovators, activists, entrepreneurs, visionaries and other wavemakers. Find out more at www.shakenworld.com.