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Meet Archita Mandal of Tapping Wand Productions in Silicon Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Archita Mandal.

Archita, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am a filmmaker (writer, director and producer) with a background in cloud security. I have an executive education from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Storytelling is my passion. I am a self-taught filmmaker and picked up skills on the job. Now I am a full-time filmmaker. My journey as a storyteller perhaps began in 1990. I was 14 and vacationing in India, when the Gulf War broke out in Kuwait, where we lived. We could not return to Kuwait for a couple of years, and to cope, I started writing. Soon it became apparent to me that I had a knack for visualizing my stories in great detail. Years later, after I graduated from university with a Management Information Systems degree, I realized my urge to tell stories was intense and I started writing scripts. I took classes as well.

I assisted independent film directors in art direction and production design. In 2011, after a few years of my first stab at script writing, I felt ready to take the plunge and directed a 17 min sci-fi thriller. I went on to create more content (short film, music videos, PSAs). My work started receiving accolades at film festivals, and my last 36-minute short film, “The Nair House” (is on Amazon Prime). So far I have written, directed and produced all my films. Now I am working on pitch-ready scripts. My next film will most likely be a full-length feature. I quit my corporate job, in a leadership role, in December last year to build a tech talk show based in Silicon Valley and to develop a feature documentary on DIPG cancer. When the pandemic hit, I switched gears and started a web series called “Right Here Right Now with Archita” where we talk to experts and cover stories that need a voice or support during these unprecedented COVID times.

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?
It has been a tough road but one worth taking as I had enough drive and grit to stick to the journey. For self-produced movies like mine, the journey is rough as everything from conception to execution to distribution is a one-person job typically. It is tough to scale. Once I started getting the festival nods, the journey was smoother in terms of actors wanting to work with me; it also made it easier to get a professional crew on board. Shadowing well-regarded directors is not an opportunity available to many. For independent filmmakers like me with no serious mentorship, no degree from a film school, and no established network in the film industry, it’s a slow climb. Add to that being a woman in your 40s with two kids! It’s a hard road ahead but I have a fierce urge to tell stories that matter; otherwise I wouldn’t be here.

Please tell us about Tapping Wand Productions.
Tapping Wand Productions is a full-service production company. I am proud of the range of content we are able to understand and produce. What gives us an edge is that I am a writer, director and producer with a technology background. Right now we are developing short docu series and interviews with experts around coping with COVID. We cover topics like education, COVID studies, children’s health, healthcare workers, children with special needs among other topics. The idea is to highlight people and organizations that are working tirelessly to cope with COVID but tend to slip under the radar. Our production house also works on corporate videos for sales and marketing.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Traits that have worked best for me so far are grit, determination, plenty of hard work and initiative. I think all these components are required in a film director. You don’t have to be born with these. I have developed them over time and they have stood me in good stead.

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