Q/A: Shantanu Sagara
Shantanu Sagara is a second semester freshman film student born and raised in India. He considers the focus of his filmmaking experimental by nature, showcasing the vibrant color and habitation of his native culture.
Jackalope Magazine: How did you get into film?
Shantanu Sagara: I grew up around a lot of artists because there are a lot of artists in my family. They would have dinners all the time and they would talk about film, art and music. My father is a sculptor and a painter and my mom is a university professor.
JM: How did you learn about the Santa Fe University of Art and Design?
SS: So, one of my parents’ friends, her name is Linda Bangles, she is an American artist and has a studio a little ways out of Santa Fe. She was just over and we were talking about film schools outside of India because I didn’t want to study in India because I’m not a big fan of Indian Cinema. She told me about this school and I checked it out right away.
JM: What kind of influences did you grow up with in terms of film genre?
SS: I used to play bass guitar in a bunch of bands in my city. They were older than me and more exposed to western culture like music and movies. One of my friends would always recommend films to watch and I’d watch them.
JM: What are you looking to focus on craft wise at the film school?
SS: When I first came here, I had no other intention but to be a director. As I go through my classes…I see a lot more things that I can do. One thing I’ve been looking at could be set design. I don’t want to limit myself.
JM: Have you worked on any films?
SS: I actually finished my last day of shooting today for my first film. I still just have a working title but it’s just really cool having a project already done.
JM: How does it feel coming from your culture into American culture?
SS: Sometimes I think about being a non-American living in America and contributing to the industry here. I imagine it is really hard. Being from a culture as aesthetically rich as India, say Hinduism for instance, we have a lot of historical sites and monuments and there is such amazing tradition and life attached to these parts of my culture. I definitely borrow from my experiences and try to incorporate them in my films. Being from India also adds a lot of limitations to what you do. These deeply rooted ideas and philosophies are a part of you and just generally people expect you to be a certain way. America has something called the independent cinema, which I think is really revolutionary. Filmmakers can raise
money for any film they want to make. It’s awesome and if stuff like that happened in India, that would be great.
JM: Where will you go with the craft you learn here in Santa Fe?
SS: I just want to travel the world really. I don’t want to be restricted to one place, I’ll go where projects take me. I think America is such a big country and I could easily see myself staying here and finding a lot of work for a couple of years.