A cross-cultural love story inspired by true events and directed by an alumnus of RMIT's Master of Creative Media will have its world premiere in Melbourne this week.
The Colour of Darkness, the debut feature film directed by Girish Makwana, will premiere on Saturday 21 August among the glitz and colour of the Indian Film Festival Melbourne (IFFM).
The film took six years to complete on a budget of $3 million, and was a truly global production with scenes shot in Melbourne and Gujarat, India and post-production completed in Auckland, New Zealand.
It follows a young Australian journalist assigned to investigate the attack on a student in Melbourne, setting in motion a chain of events that takes her to India and introduces her to a world of cultural difference.
Though the international production was a challenge to coordinate, Makwana said that he used it as an opportunity to bolster the skills he developed at university.
“You always learn a lot in the filmmaking process,” Makwana said.
“I was wearing three hats – writer, director and music composer – so I got to see everything come together, from the first draft of the script to the first frame of the shoot and the first notes of the score.”
Makwana moved to Melbourne from India in 2004 to study a Diploma of Screen and Media at RMIT, and followed it with a Master of Creative Media in 2012.
He said that studying at RMIT not only taught him practical filmmaking skills, but also prepared him for a career beyond graduation.
“I’ve always wanted to make films,” Makwana said, “but I didn’t have any technical knowledge about filmmaking.
"I read about an RMIT course and met some of the staff, and I felt that RMIT was the right place to study. It helped me understand the process of making a film, but also how to navigate the industry.”
Vikrant Kishore, lecturer in communication and media production at RMIT, said having his film screened at IFFM confirms Makwana’s emergence as a promising young filmmaker.
“Making a feature-length film is an incredibly complex and difficult task in itself, but to have your debut film shown at an international calibre festival is something Girish should be very proud of,” Kishore said.
“I’ve known him for a long time and I’ve seen this project grow from an idea into a finished film, and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.”
Having now transitioned from study to a career in the film industry, Makwana said he was “very proud” to have The Colour of Darkness premiere at IFFM in his adopted home town.
“The movie is about Indian and Australian society, and it’s a particularly Melburnian story too, so my team and I are excited and feeling great," he said.
“It took six years to finish this film, and directing is hard work, but when you like your work and enjoy what you are doing the biggest reward is the satisfaction you get from seeing the project finally come together.”
The Colour of Darkness premieres at Hoyts Melbourne Central at 4.30pm on Saturday 21 August.
Story: Bradley Dixon