Aryaman Padhee with CineOdisha at the Expo 2020 Dubai

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“Keep your eyes open for opportunities. Sometimes, they’re closer than they appear,” says Aryaman Padhee (Batch 2022) in a conversation about his love for filmmaking and his experience at the Expo 2020 Dubai.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Q: Tell us about the program ‘CineOdisha: Timeless Cinema from Odisha’ and how did you come across this opportunity?

Aryaman: The program was initiated by Odisha Samaj UAE (OSUAE), in association with internationally acclaimed film producer and promoter, Jitendra Mishra, who is also the founder of Cinema4Good Pvt Ltd. ‘CineOdisha: Timeless Cinema from Odisha’ is a one-of-its-kind Odia film festival on an international platform (celebrating 85 years of Odia cinema).  It aims to promote Odisha’s rich heritage, art and culture through selected path-breaking films directed by experienced filmmakers. All these films were showcased at State-of-the-Art Cinema Theatre inside ‘The India Pavilion Expo 2020’ managed by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).

Talking about opportunities, you need to keep your eyes open and grab them. I contacted the organization, sent out e-mails, spoke to filmmakers, presented my previous work and gained this opportunity. Nothing comes easy, you just need to begin from somewhere. I am grateful to Mr. Jitendra Mishra, OSUAE and the Cinema4Good team who helped me achieve a huge milestone in my dreams.

Q: How was your experience at Expo 2020 Dubai?

Aryaman: Well, this was my first international trip ever. If I may be honest, I went as a clueless student who just wanted to learn about films. Fortunately, things shaped out the way I wanted them to. I met some of the most humble and interesting people. I got to converse about films with renowned filmmakers, whose films have been screened at prestigious festivals like Cannes. At first, I was very nervous and intimidated. However, I couldn’t hold back from talking about my cultural roots and rich heritage.

In addition, I explored the Indian Pavilion at the Expo. I also visited other Pavilions of China, Turkey, Israel, Italy etc. This helped broaden my perspective and knowledge about different cultures. Further, I was felicitated for my contribution towards the program. This was the most unexpected and overwhelming moment for me. Overall, I cherished every bit of the event.

Q: Congratulations on your felicitation! What was your role and the work revolved around it?

Aryaman: I was the Program-Coordinator for the whole event. Pre-event tasks included speaking to Odia filmmakers and gathering information about their films. I also dabbled with the creative aspect; I learnt a lot in terms of editing and designing. Besides, I also provided inputs during the editing of the program’s promo video. I would like to thank my university, Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication, for equipping me with the technical know-how with their robust model of practical learning. During the event, my primary role was to supervise the screenings. I sat in the room where the movies were showcased and oversaw the sequence, to ensure the smooth functioning of the event.

Q: Are there any learning outcomes that you want to share with us?

Aryaman: Mhmm, yes. Always book your tickets after looking at the university’s academic calendar, because I gave my class test at the Dubai airport! (chuckles)

Jokes apart, I think the whole experience was a huge learning curve. Give your best in everything you do because good efforts always reap the best benefits. Take every experience as a learning opportunity. We always worry about time management, but it really develops with time and is a very important skill to maintain for the long run.  I honestly have a long way to go, this is just the beginning. But, as I said, we all need to just begin from somewhere!

It was great speaking to Aryaman and knowing his experiences! His commitment and passion for filmmaking is remarkable, and his simple yet deep insights are inspiring. You can read more about the program here.

Shirin Pajnoo
(Batch 2022)

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