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Life & Work with Apoorva Sankar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Apoorva Sankar.

Hi Apoorva, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
As a child, my parents would recite me bedtime stories that created a new world for me. I remember living that parallel universe with my imaginary friends and develop situations that made me believe that I could talk to them and see them coming to life. Sounds crazy, right? But that’s where my visual storytelling skills began! I grew up in Mumbai, the home of Bollywood, where I understood that this world is not as pleasing as it sounds. I was just another small fish in this gigantic ocean of sharks, and I have no chance to survive! I pursued my degree in English literature and I studied some exciting topics like The Victorian Age, Modern Literature, Gender studies, and my visual story skills flashed back at me. I began writing my own short stories and asked a few friends to shoot them for me. I was no expert, but the process of collaboration made me realize that creativity has no bounds. I joined a Film course where I did my diploma in filmmaking. I learned editing and basic visual effects. I was awed by the simplicity and technical balance that an editor contributes to a film. The beauty of carving a movie in post-production made me realize that this was my way of storytelling to an audience. I started volunteering with NGO’s and helped them with short films. I worked on my friend’s projects and refined the short films that I’d made. I loved the process of finding themes, music, effects, and a rhythm for my work. I was still a new-bee in this world, and I began watching independent films to broaden my knowledge about movies. I started applying to various film schools hoping that this dream of mine can come true. I finally got an email saying that I’m selected for the Film Production program with Editing Emphasis at Dodge College of Media Arts. My vision opened to an entirely new level. I began my creative journey as an editor and collaborated on several projects with my peers. I understood the dynamics of different creative minds coming together to make a film. I got to edit contemporary work and documentaries. Last year I was part of the post-production team of the film “Birds without Wings,” which advanced to the finalist of the Student Academy. It was a significant milestone in my work and pushed me to work harder. In my last semester at Dodge College of Media Arts, I continue to work as an editor for various projects and churn my creative juices for collaborative platforms to contribute my thoughts.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My journey has been a rollercoaster ride with many steep downfalls but slow progressions too! When I was applying for film schools, I received some rejections that clearly stated that my application wasn’t the right fit. I began to doubt myself and wondered, “Is this something I want to do?” Maybe I wasn’t good enough to be a part of this industry. I had no film background anyway, and neither did I have anyone to guide me with this process. As a kid, I always believed there was a certain age to study, find a job, earn money and be self-sufficient. And this is a myth! My parents helped me change my perspective and asked me to believe in myself before thinking about others! I finally began to find my purpose and contribution that I can give to this industry. It is hard to stay away from your loved ones, and being an international student made me realize my family’s value. The security and comfort are priceless when you compare it to staying alone with people you barely know! It took me a while to adjust to the idea of being away and still being focused and independent. But soon, with time and support, I realized that I am learning to be self-sufficient through this process. It is always heartbreaking to see your family on a tiny screen, but the love and support from them remain constant, which is my driving force towards my goal. My journey is nothing without my struggles, and I’ve learned to embrace them along my way.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am an editor and currently in my final semester in Film Production with an Editing Emphasis at Dodge College of Media Arts. I’ve worked more on narrative shorts and found my new interest in documentary editing. I love how editing changes the tone and structure of a film. Along with editing, I enjoy the production and the attention to detail that the crew contributes to ensuring that the end product is successful. I enjoy working with my peers as a script supervisor and being an assistant to understand the industry’s workflow. My latest documentary short, “Birds without Wings,” was well acclaimed and nominated to many film festivals. The process of editing a documentary was a different experience altogether. Here, I had to construct the narrative from scratch and create a story from the footage provided to me. I loved being part of this team, and I learned a new style of cutting films. This experience has been my most significant achievement, and I am incredibly grateful for all the team members. For me, editing is not blindly following continuity but creating new perspectives for the director. The process of being involved with the script is the best feeling ever. I love experimenting with different cutting styles to understand the emotions of the characters. I still feel I have so much more to do and understand! But the best part about this industry is, you always have people who inspire you, and the learning never stops!

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
The comfort television platforms have been a different experience of viewing cinema. In this pandemic, I can see how viewers have invested more time viewing films they would have never watched in the movie theatre. I don’t know if this is good or bad? But it shows how this industry manages to keep its viewers engaged. Digitalization in films has finally become a new trend. I see this industry focusing more on visual effects and large scale productions to make the audience believe in the unreal. As an editor, I have realized that I must be aware of these new techniques that I must incorporate in my work. The viewers have become more open to contemporary cinema, and I’m awed by how cinema has progressed over these years. As the years go by, I’m sure there will be so many more advances in technology, but the film industry won’t stop finding innovative ways of reaching their audiences. That is the beauty of this industry; you’re always on the go and constantly finding a balance as the generation progresses.

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