As part of his final project at SAE Creative Media Institute, Abhishek Parasher has created a student film called 'Across Borders’.
'Across Borders' made its world premiere last month at Academy Award and BAFTA-accredited film festival, Flickerfest. The film portrays the struggle of an Indian family, and harassment from the family's neighbour.
One of the reasons Abhishek wanted to address this was because it's not something often seen being dealt with in society.
Production on the film came with challenges and its subject matter is something Abhishek (who produced the film as part of his SAE Bachelor Of Film degree) has had varied experiences of.
We talk with Abhishek to learn more about 'Across Borders', its involvement in Flickerfest, and his time at SAE. What’s ‘Across Borders’ about?
'Across Borders' is a film about something I call the 'we’re lucky' complex. When immigrants settle in another country, they tend to feel lucky, and therefore, they feel as if it is not their place to stand up for themselves. I found that a lot of immigrant friends and family around me would apologise before analysing whether they were in the right or wrong. 'Across Borders' explores this complex through the relationship of a father and daughter, who in the face of conflict decide to deal with it in their own separate ways. And what was it like to have the film selected as part of Flickerfest?!
To have the film shown at Flickerfest was an incredible privilege. The festival is able to bring together an wonderfully diverse audience which gave us the opportunity to hear how this film relates to people from a bunch of different backgrounds. This film was part of your final project at SAE. What inspired you to make it about racism in Australia?
I see this film more of a call to action to Indians than a comment on racism. The ‘lucky’ complex tends to be prevalent in any conflict, whether that conflict is incited by racism or not. However, I was deeply inspired by this taking place in Australia as it is a place where you are told to stand up for yourself as a child. So exploring the story through the prism of a young woman who has grown up in the country and is able to take ownership was incredibly important to juxtapose against her father, who grew up with a different mindset. What has the response to the film been like so far?
We are very lucky to have had such a warm response from people so far. We have heard from people from a variety of different backgrounds about their experience with the themes in the film.
Do you have plans to create more films in the future that deal with these important topics? Anything in the pipeline?
We are currently in the process of making our next film which deals with dowry violence in the Indian community. The film follows a young woman named Anika as she steals her dowry to rent an apartment. The film is being made as a part of my Masters in Directing at AFTRS. Tell us a bit about your time at SAE. What was it like to study there?
Studying in SAE was a great start to my filmmaking education and career. I was surrounded by incredibly talented students and teachers who encouraged me to explore and offered expert guidance. It was also a great place to experiment with different aspects of the industry. I was able to enhance my knowledge in every aspect of the craft which I believe made me a better director. You had a bit of a crazy ride shooting ‘Across Borders’. Tell us a bit about that.
Well, we shot the film five days before the massive stage five lockdown in 2020. In that time we lost our location and had to completely re-design the film to match our new location, both in terms of production design and screen language which meant that we ultimately had to rewrite the script. All this in the two weeks before shooting. And then of course shooting provided its own challenges since COVID was quite new then and no one really knew how to handle it. However, we came through the other side with a compelling film thanks to the hard work of an amazing crew. What advice would you have for budding filmmakers who might be wanting to take the plunge and apply at SAE?
I would say dive right into it and drive yourself into the exploration of film. SAE is a great place to challenge yourself and explore every part of the film industry. It’ll also help you find exactly what you love about film and allow you to hone that part of your craft. To learn more about SAE Creative Media Institute's offerings, head to their website.