HOW DO YOU FALL OUT OF LOVE WITH COUNTRY MUSIC?, 13min., USA
Directed by Shyamala Moorty
She just wants to sing country and western on stage, but it's not easy for a South Asian-American in the deep south where every audience is a hostile one. “How Do You Fall Out of Love with County Music” is a humorous and moving short film about cultural alienation and the possibilities for human connection through music. Set on stage in a honky-tonk bar, Amy Singh courageously bares her soul to the audience and reveals deep truths about racism and belonging in our country today.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
As a director, I was matched with a writer and an actor during the pandemic by Theater West for a new play reading. The script by Maximillian Gill was immediately compelling, I could feel the tension just in reading it, and the actor, Vidushi Chadha, claimed the stage so powerfully -even on zoom. The script was in-progress and the three of us had such great chemistry as a team working through the changes and staging together. When we were done, Vidushi suggested the film, and I had just finished directing my first short (a narrative dance called Fight the Fear) and was enthusiastic to try my hand at a monologue!
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
The film took a little over a year, and most of it was spent in the meticulous post production process of editing, colorizing and most importantly, creating the sound score. The sounds and comments were a huge part of my original vision, but they didn't exist in the original script so it took some work with the writer as well as with an extremely creative sound team including A.R. Björklund and Lysten Klös and was guided by the post production vision of one of our producers, Kurt Leitner.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Bold and deep
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Having the resources to finish the film after it was shot was definitely the biggest challenge. We made the film out-of-pocket and through the goodness of many talented collaborators.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I am so grateful to hear the content resonating with the viewers from their various perspectives and feel I was gifted the best part of the audience interaction that normally comes with a live showing, but on-line! I love that the viewers described Vidushi's performance as "magnetic" and that they understood the challenge of making a monologue come to life. And, I was so thrilled that so many found the lighting and sound score so powerful, since these were huge parts of my vision from the beginning!
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
During the pandemic! Previously, I was a director and choreographer for live stage performances. When all live theater was cancelled, I transitioned to a new medium, and am in love with it!
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Like watched over and over? Probably The Sound of Music! It is such a masterful combination of fun, political, and heart wrenching all tied together with the magic of song and dance! I guess I've always loved interdisciplinary work with depth.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
As so many festivals have moved on-line, I appreciate the accessibility for me to attend and to share to a wider audience. What I really miss, though, is hearing audience responses, which you are providing, and meeting other professionals in the field, because like-minded collaborators are precious!
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
I have found it very easy to browse festivals, submit, get notifications and laurels. I appreciate the visibility of being able to showcase my projects there as well!
10. What is your favorite meal?
I think at this moment I gotta go with a Masala Dosa (back to my South Indian roots), though I have always loved a good artichoke (I grew up in Northern CA)!
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I am currently mentoring several artists to create solo shows for the live stage, and have been in conversation with the "How Do You Fall Out of Love with Country Music?" writer, Maximillian Gill, about future film possibilities!