Arya Singh is currently a sophomore at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts studying Film and Television. She grew up in New Jersey and has a passion for creating narrative and documentary work.
iFilmFestival: Tell us a bit about your most important film so far.
Arya Singh: “"To America" was an incredibly important film for me to make because it allowed me to explore my Indian-American identity. It is centered around my experience growing up in a small, suburban, primarily white town as a brown girl. I think a lot of Immigrant children can relate to the idea of not knowing where you belong, and although that sounds somewhat cliche, it does impact us from a very young age. You never feel embraced by your home country, and that is a feeling that can permeate into other areas of your life.”
iFilmFestival: What were the key challenges making it?
Arya Singh: “I had never created an entire film by myself, from start to finish, so I was curious to see if I could pull it off. The animation was a challenge for me, as I only do art on the side and as a hobby, but I ended up really enjoying what I created.”
iFilmFestival: What’s one aspect that you’re particularly proud of?
Arya Singh: “I am particularly proud of using my own voice in one of my films. I usually I like to use my friends / other students as the voice for my voiceovers, but I decided to do it myself.”
Trailer: To America
iFilmFestival: How did you get involved in filmmaking?
Arya Singh: “I originally went to college to be an English and Politics major but ended up being introduced to film my freshman year. I grew up loving movies and television, but always saw it as more of a guilty pleasure rather than a career path. At school, I realized that filmmaking is something I am really passionate about and want to pursue; so, I switched majors and ended up here!”
iFilmFestival: What new projects are you working on or are you hoping to work on in the future?
Arya Singh: “I am going to Prague, Czech Republic in the fall to film a short narrative piece on 35 mm film. I am incredibly excited about that opportunity!”
iFilmFestival: What role do film festivals play?
Arya Singh: “Film festivals are vital to allowing new and emerging filmmakers to enter the film industry and get their name out there.”
iFilmFestival: What is your advice to filmmakers tackling the festival circuit?
Arya Singh: “I just got into my first festival so I don't know if I can be giving out any advice, but I just submitted to anywhere I could on FilmFreeway. It's honestly such a great resource for filmmakers and I'm surprised how many people I meet that don't know about it.”
iFilmFestival: How do you see the future of film?
Arya Singh: “I think film is already heading in a more diverse, experimental direction. Lead characters can be played and written AND directed by BIPOC, something that used to not be the case in Hollywood.”
iFilmFestival: Which filmmaker do you admire and why?
Arya Singh: “A filmmaker I admire is Alice Elliott, who also happened to be my teacher when I made "To America". She was my mentor for the project and is always using the knowledge she gained from the industry to help others. She is always there to refer you to someone, give you notes, or just give you an encouraging smile!”
iFilmFestival: What film have you recently seen that you have admired in one way or another?
Arya Singh: “A film I recently saw that I admired was Raquel Cepeda's documentary La Madrina: The Savage Life of Lorine Padilla. I admired Raquel's ability to center women in a documentary topic that is often centered around men. The film really intrigued me and I really recommend it to anyone interested in doc or film as a whole.”
iFilmFestival: Thank you Arya for answering our questions!
Interview by iFilmFestival on 24/05/2022.