After making three short films and assisting for a few feature films, youngster Shireesh Khemariya directed his first independent project which has travelled to various international film festivals. He also won Best Director award at Washington DC South Asian Film Festival (2022) for it and now he is geared up for two big projects.
“With my small team, I’m writing a big commercial film and a comedy series titled UP Main Film City, which we plan to shoot in the state itself,” shares Khemariya (22), who hails from Kuchwada, MP.
He adds, “This is a good phase for independent films. Though there may be so many lobbies and production houses but good thing is films get a window to release nowadays which was not the case earlier. My film Who Am I is an independent film, with good but lesser-known actors, producer whom I met through Facebook and everyone in the crew is under 25 years. We shot it in the interiors of Madhya Pradesh. Now, we plan to release it in theatres or maybe OTT — whatever might be it fate?”
The film is based on Ashok Jamnani’s book Ko Aham. “I always had a philosophical inclination and when I read this book, I was sure that I need to make my debut film based on it. It’s on the Narmada River parikrama, closely associated with my roots and culture.”
Khemariya started direction when he was merely 13. “It started around 2013, when mobiles had become smarter with good cameras. So, I directed my first short film Uday that reached the semi-final round at Lake City film Festival, Nigeria. It fuelled my desire and eventually I joined Subhash Ghai’s institute. In between, I started getting industry opportunities and became associate creative producer at a production house where I was involved in films like Habaddi, Chaman Bahaar, KD and Kanpuriye.” He also came up with short films Katu Satya and Khwaabghah.
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