VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Dasgupta, Rohit K.

Rohit K. Dasgupta
Indian videomaker


Interview:10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background

I did my first degree in Comparative Literature and i always tried to contextualise what I was studying. Visual Art for me was a way in which i could contextualise the people and places around me. I did my Masters from London and am currently a Phd student at University of the Arts London where my research looks at digital media and social networking sites and seeing how the Queer identity gets formed in such spaces.
I have also been a Queer activist for the last five years and my work is a direct extension of it. I have lived in India for the last twenty years of my life and have recently relocated to London.

2. When, how and why started you filming?

I started filming purely as an interest. The first film I made Crimson was a product of an experiment where i was trying to provide an image and story to some of my poems. When it was completed I showe it to a few friends who liked it and advised me to send it to a few festivals, where it was well received. What got me really interested was the communication that takes place between the audience and the film and i have always tried to keep this interpretive/discussion angle in all my works since then

3. What kind of subjects have your films?

My films primarily deal with the conflicted Queer (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual) identities in the context of a postcolonial india and the personal and societal conflicts it creates. Without trying to be a documentary, my films combine the aesthetics of visual imagery with a story and background context narrated through poetry.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?

My films have always been very low budget productions and the storyline develops when i come across a certain theme or story that attracts me. On principle I have never used expensive film, always relying on digital video. My style combines verbosity with visualisation and music. I think all three components can be played as single tracks without depending on each other, but in my films i try to combine all three to create a new narrative of coherence.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

I use a very basic handycam (Sony) and still camera. I do my editing with my editors using a combination of Adobe, Windows Media and Final Cut Pro

6. The field of “art and moving images” (one may call it videoart or also differently) is is manifesting itself as an important position in contemporary art. Tell me more about your personal position and how you see the future of this field ( your personal future and the future of “art and moving images”)

As an academic I am interested in looking at digital culture and media and I think video art is slowly developing into a field/genre of its own. I plan to combine my analytical and academic background with my work and use both in creating storyline. For me personally art plays a role in social communication. Whilst I understand that is not the purpose of art, my main aim has always been in suing my art to communicate an bring about social change.

7. How do you finance your films?

My present film is financed by the LATTOO fellowship which i was awarded for being a ‘Youth changemaker’. My first film was financed through modets fund raising from the general public.

8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
if you have experience
in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

In the initial planning stage from the scripting to basic storyboarding i work on my own and then take the input of others, but technically I have always collaborated with others. Not being an editor myself I work with others. I like working as a team because it allows me to take inputs which shape the final product better.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?

Queer and experimental film makers from India such as Sonali Gulati, Onir, Sridhar Rangayan and others have had a huge impact on me. I have also more recently been following the works of cinephiles like Anurag Kashyap.

10. What are your plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

In the future I plan to combine academia with my art form and creating newer forms of video art both for communication and as a tool for social change especially within the Queer community