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37th BFI Flare 2023
Interview

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Ektara
Collective
A Place of Our Own

BFI Flare: HEARTS 

March 23 & 25 SOLD OUT

ektaracollective.in

March 19, 2023

Two friends fight to find a place to live after the sudden eviction from their home by a prejudiced landlord, in this timely drama set in Bhopal.

 

It is really great to talk with everyone from the Ektara Collective, how has your 2023 been treating you so far?

 

Very well! The response to the film has been very good and also very hectic as our collective has also started working on our next projects.

 

A Place of Our Own was nominated for Asian Future Best Film Award at the TIFF 2022, did you imagine your powerful film would get such an incredible and touching response?

 

The film was a labour of love for the whole team and made in a very small Budget but every one put their weight behind the film and were committed to the story and the characters. So we did hope that the film would be able to reach wide audiences. And the response that it is getting makes us very happy. The Film opened at TIFF 2022 (Tokyo International Film Festival) and also South By South West where it had its American premiere, and the Kerela International Film Festival where it also won two awards. The film also won The HIVOS Free To Be Award At the up-coming Roze Film Dagen Film Festival.

 

For us what is also very gratifying is the no of college and community screening request that we are getting in India.

 

What does it mean to the collective to have your film A Place of Our Own in the HEARTS section at the 37th BFI Flare?

 

We are very happy, and hope that the London audiences like the film. We would love to get to know the response.  This will be our first screening in Europe.

 

Will there be any nerves ahead of the screening or are you able to enjoy the ride?

 

At the beginning there is always a like a small apprehension, will people come to see the film?, will they like it?, but it’s just for a short time, after that its is all joy.

 

What was the first LGBTQ+ film you saw that really left an impact? 

 

There was one films that I had seen and had an impact, Brother Outsider, The Life of Bayard Rustin.

 

How essential is it for LGBTQ+ filmmakers to continue to push the boundaries of the stories and themes they want to explore in their films?

 

It is very important for us it is also the context from which LGBTQ films are being told and who controls the stories. Also when we talk of LGBTQ rights they have to be seen in the context of all other marginalises. Themes and stories that questions not just discrimination against a marginalised gender but also the whole structure of inequality based on caste (race) and class that the society functions within. Nothing can be seen in isolation.

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"The circumstances were a bit different this time, the film was shot just after the second wave of covid so there were several challenges that got added, but still it was an experience that will only take us forward."

Can you tell me a little bit about how A Place of Our Own came about, what was the inspiration behind your screenplay?

 

The film came about through conversations some of us were having on representation and how important it was to be able to tell our own queer and trans stories. There were a few mainstream film that had trans characters but were badly represented and in most cases the roles were played by cis/heterosexual men so the collaboration started Manisha Soni and Muskan who are the main protagonist of the story also collaborated on the story, which was then converted into a script and  screenplay.

What was the most challenging scene for you to shoot?

 

The scenes where we showed or had a reference to violence or meant reacting a harassment or discriminatory behaviour. Because for the actors it meant reliving it and it always felt uncomfortable. The whole crew was conscious of t and worked hard so that there would be fewer retakes, and no one would have to relive humiliating moment.

 

What has been the most valuable lesson you have taken away from making A Place of Our Own?

 

The story in many way makes and unmakes us while it is being told. It gives strength as well as shows us the mirror. And in a practical way it also gives us affirmation for our way of film making that a film made under many restraints and, small budget and many first timers can create something beautiful and reach so many hearts.

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking, screenwriting and storytelling?

 

Yes.

 

How different was your approach to A Place of Our Own compared to how you made your previous films?

 

In many ways the approach was the same, collaborations, collective effort , supporting each other to reach their best potential and trust. A lot os workshops, help form our supporters. The circumstances were a bit different this time, the film was shot just after the second wave of covid so there were several challenges that got added, but still it was an experience that will only take us forward.

Do you have any tips or advice to a fellow filmmaker who are thinking about making their own film?

 

You should just go ahead and do it, collaborate with people build a team, support each other and find creative ways to overcome your challenges. Make those your strengths.

 

And finally, what message do you hope you audiences will take away from A Place of Our Own?

 

For the LGBT community it should be of hope, joy and the power of building our own lives and for the society it should be a mirror.

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