Upamanyu Bhattacharyya and Kalp Sanghvi are co-directors of WADE, a phenomenal animation short film that addresses the effects of climate change in India. The duo talks to us about their approach to filmmaking and their urgent reach for a global response to rising sea levels in India.
indieactivity: Give a background of your personal experience with the story, writing and production.
Upamanyu Bhattacharyya (UB): The entire process of writing Wade from the beginning was very organic. For both of us, we threw ideas at each other grounding them to some basic facts. At the same time exploring the legends of the Sundarbans. Both of us having grown up in Kolkata, we had a common point of interest and knew this film has to be based in the city. We came up with a strong narrative which we felt was engaging and quickly dived into preproduction and production in a matter of weeks. We were fortunate to have some really talented artists who come on board and to Kolkata to kick off the production.
Why was it important for you to share the story of Wade?
Upamanyu Bhattacharyya (UB): Living in Kolkata we are directly in the line to adverse effects of climate change and sea level rise. The Sundarban Delta just south of the city is already drowning displacing 100s of families leaving them nowhere to go. Kolkata would be next. This fear gave rise to the film. It was really important we made this film and hoping we get people to actively talk and take steps about this issue.
The Official Trailer for WADE by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya and Kalp Sanghvi
What was your first project?
UB: We have worked on multiple projects together since 2013. The first one was a promotional video for our team in an intra college festival Monsoon Fiesta. Then onwards we’ve also worked on various commercial and personal projects
What worked better in this latest production that mightn’t have worked so well in the last one you did?
UB: Wade has been a first full scale production for us. We learnt a lot from every step. The smaller projects gave us the confidence to take up WADE. Having multiple tasks and handling various artists needed organising. This was something we tried doing as efficiently as possible.
Is there anything about the independent filmmaking business that you struggle with?
UB: Balancing commercial and personal projects is something we took a while to figure. After having WADE completed, we are in a better position to balance that now. Major factor is funds when one makes films. Animation is a long process and requires a team. But after having put WADE out there it has given us confidence to approach other studios and individuals to explore various methods of funding a film – Co production, residencies, etc.
Where do you think your strengths lie as a filmmaker?
UB: We hope to tell stories that we really feel for. Climate change for instance was something we feel for and living in Kolkata scares us. We believe we have tons of people around us and everyone has a story to tell. This is a strength where we can pick out these untold stories and bring it out into the world.
How was the film financed?
UB: The film was financed by Upamanyu and Kalp. We brought together a small team in 2016 and got together the first WADE trailer. We then ran a successful crowdfunding campaign via Wishberry. This gave us a good push. After which we put the funds that we saved from various commercial projects we had been working on. All in all, it was an independently funded film.
What do you hope audiences get from your film?
UB: We know this film will not solve the climate change issue, but we hope to start a dialogue and actively get a conversation started with real steps as to how to avoid the impending disaster. We urge people to imagine themselves and their cities in the scenario WADE portrays, which is a very real possibility. When this happens there will also be a huge migration crisis. Here we also urged people to be kind and welcoming.
What else have you got in the works?
UB: After finishing WADE, we are more confident in handling long format films. There are a feature film and an animated series in development at the moment. We hope to get these projects out there soon.
Ghost Animation: At Ghost, our happiest pursuit is a lineup of in-house animated short films, each produced independently in a wide range of visual languages. We’ve started work on an animated series and a feature-length animated project. We’ve also worked on a variety of commercial projects, ranging from title sequences to animated segments for documentary films, and are always looking for more avenues to use our love for the medium.
In our cozy Kolkata studio, we’ve built a space where people with wildly different skill sets come together and inspire each other to do better. Some amazing artists from all over the country have enriched this space with their collaborations.
Tell us what you think of the interview with Upamanyu Bhattacharyya and Kalp Sanghvi. What do you think of it? What ideas did you get? Do you have any suggestions? Or did it help you? Let’s have your comments below and/or on Facebook or Instagram! Or join me on Twitter.