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Meet Anup Kulkarni

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anup Kulkarni.

Anup, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When you swoon seeing the VFX of your favorite action movie, you might not realize that for someone this is more than a job. For Anup Kulkarni, a cinematographer and visual effects supervisor, movies are the second side to the coin of life.

I’ve had a keen interest in various aspects of movie making, and it’s the eye for detail helps me capture ideas on celluloid. Presenting ideas to the world in a creative form is sheer brilliance, and that’s what I believe in. After working in some of Hollywood’s biggest films like Life of Pi, Thor 2, Percy Jackson, and RIPD, I am currently focusing on an upcoming project – my second feature film of the year called ‘Silence of the Bridge.’

My Indian roots have always taught me to be grounded. Over the past years, I’ve worked on various international documentaries, features, commercials, TV shows, and music videos. I consider myself lucky for this enriching experience in such a short period. But at the same time, I continue to strive hard.

When you’re rewarded for your hard work, it is an encouragement to keep going. Awards are an encouragement that we filmmakers always appreciate. For my cinematography journey, I’ve been awarded five awards, and I cherish each one of them.

Recently, one of the films I produced ‘And the Dream that Mattered’ was awarded the Best Independent Film Award at the prestigious 26th Korean Cultural Academy Awards 2018 in Los Angeles. The film was shot in the USA and South Korea, and the audience reaction told us that our hard work has succeeded.

Great, 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?
There is no straight line to a dream, so how can any journey be smooth. I moved to Los Angeles in 2014 and ever since it has been a sinusoidal journey. Ups and downs are a part of life and being a Director of Photography & VFX guy I can say I’ve mastered them well.

Challenges on set are a part of this industry. Behind all the glitz and glamour, there’s a lot of hard work of a dedicated team. While working on a Spanish TV Series La Cabeza del Raton episode, we were shooting in a huge mansion that you might have seen in the Twilight Saga.

The story had to introduce five families in a single long shot of about four minutes. There were twenty-one actors in a single shot. We had to capture the lead actors through the mighty hallways, rooms, go upstairs, and end the scene right where it started.

Add to this, the barrier of language which was entirely new for me. And we were also losing sunlight, so had to wrap up in about half hour. The entire mansion was lit up with 360 degrees lighting setup. The director and I were on our toes the whole time to ensure everything goes as per plan and finally, we got our shot on the seventh take.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I am a Director of Photography and Visual Effects Supervisor. Being a part of Hollywood was nothing less than a dream, and I am lucky to live this dream every day. After working in Mumbai with Rhythm & Hues studios as a 3D Camera tracking & Matchmove Technical Director, I realized that my real passion lies in filmmaking, through which I can touch many lives and paint a myriad of emotions.

Saying that I am proud of one particular project would not be fair. In this creative field, every day comes with a new challenge. Sometimes you overcome the hurdles, other times you struggle, put in twice the effort and still not succeed. But in the end, it all becomes a learning experience. I am proud of my associations in the industry, the way my work has shaped and given me a global platform to reach millions across the globe, and of course the awards (because why not!)

Emotions need no language, but the dilemma is the world is divided by language! As a creative person, I feel if you’re passionate to express your ideas and work towards it relentlessly, the barrier of language is broken. I’ve worked on projects in seven languages – English, Hindi, Spanish, Korean, Lithuanian, Portuguese, and Romanian. Last year’s Portuguese film – ‘The Touch of Aurora’ was highly acclaimed and won awards and critics appreciation.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least about our city?
Even before moving to LA, I was working on some film projects so had a close idea about the work culture. But once I moved to LA, it was like a whole new world. New opportunities, new people, and of course new challenges. LA is not just a city, but an emotion. You can feel it pulsating in yourself.

The reverberations of its bold and eccentric vibe, that’s what makes LA so special. I came to Hollywood to make a mark for myself, and thankfully the journey has been exceptional till now. Have worked with some of the biggest names in the industry and learned so much.

In a city like LA, you need to understand that one has to give their best every time. You need to remember that you can always be replaced, so let your work speak volumes and sparkle like a diamond in the world of concrete!

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