International Film Festival
AN INTERVIEW WITH Karan Choudhary, ACTOR & FILMMAKER
AN INTERVIEW WITH Karan Choudhary, ACTOR & FILMMAKER
As a filmmaker, please introduce yourself and let us know why you became a filmmaker?
My name is Karan Choudhary and I was born in Faridabad, India. I’m currently based in New York City and successfully pursuing my acting and filmmaking career. I moved to New York in 2013 to study acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre. Before I moved to New York, I worked as a salesman in a clothing store in New Delhi, India. Upon my arrival in the United States, acting became my priority but right after graduating from the acting school I couldn’t get the work visa to stay in America and pursue my acting career. So, I made my first short documentary film and told the story of my professional life and struggle from India to New York. The film was a success with over fourteen global film festival selections, two winner awards and two nominations in various categories. Because of that, I was immediately granted work visa. Since then, I have been making one short film every year. I have made three short films so far and they have all been very well received at the film festival circuit and had distributors at the end.
Give some information about the films you have made so far.
My first film was a short documentary about immigrant artists coming to America and the kind of struggle they have to face with visas, green cards, etc. It’s called "Dedication". My second short film was a comedy, it’s called "New York’d". It’s a film about all the terrible things that could happen to you when you live in New York. It’s available to watch on Amazon Prime. My third film, which I'm currently promoting is called "The Timepiece". No matter where you live, it feels like we’re in a cultural war these days about race, religion, age, sexuality and everything else. This film deals with several of these issues in a real-life way.
What are the films or people that had impacts on you and deeply inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I wish I could just name a few but it’s really hard. I’m highly inspired by the work of actors like Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Paul Newman, Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, and the extraordinary work of such filmmakers as Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, Billy Wilder, Orson Welles and Elia Kazan. Films have a very wide and long reach globally. It’s the best medium to spread the message or tell the stories that needed to be told. That’s what they really inspired me to keep making films.
Your film "The Timepiece" was officially selected in the short film category of the "American Golden Picture International Film Festival".
What were some of the challenges you faced in making that film?
I probably faced the most challenges making this film out of all three films because I was making a better film than my previous films. We had seven different locations to shoot, seven days of shooting, five actors involved, two different seasons (summer and winter), a lot of props, and a very, very low budget for the size of this film. We also had to go through a major problem when our sound guy lost one day worth of sounds from a summer season and we find that out in winter. So, we had to re-shoot the summer scene in winter, cheat our way a little bit to make it look natural and bear the cost and efforts of re-shooting the same scene.
For you what was the biggest lesson you had to learn as filmmaker?
Collaboration. Filmmaking is a very collaborative profession and you can’t make a film by yourself. I’m getting better at collaborating with other creative people with each film I make but still a long way to go.
What movie do you like best and why?
"Gangs of New York" and "Wolf of Wall Street". They both are super entertaining, have three of my most favorite actors/filmmakers in it. Martin Scorsese. Leonardo Dicaprio, Danial Day Lewis.
In filmmaking who do you like to work with if you have a choice?
Maryl Streep. I think she’s one of the most talented living actress out there and It would be wonderful to share the same work place with her.
To you, what part of the filmmaking is the hardest part?
Every aspect of filmmaking comes with numerous challenges but for me writing and editing are two very difficult parts in filmmaking. As a writer, it’s really hard to come up with the story ideas worth telling. As an editor, I’m never done editing the film, there’s always room to get better. At some point I have to abandon the film and trust that the audience would like the choices I made.
What keeps you inspired to continue filmmaking?
All the experiences. Sweet, bitter, low, high, anger, anxiety, etc. The capacity to solve the challenges while making a film and strive to get better with each film is very fulfilling and that’s why I continue to make films.
What are your filmmaking goals?
Short term: Keep getting better at what I do and help fellow artists to do the same. Long term: Tell the difficult stories as a filmmaker that need to be told.
What is your next project?
I’m working on writing my fourth short film now. It’s another comedy about our generation’s dating problem and why people are so lonely, especially in the metro cities. I’m expecting to finish writing it by the end of this year and start filming it early next year.
GOOD LUCK KARAN
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