Xu Jianshang was a student at Beijing Film Academy in China when she met Dominic Sangma from Meghalaya, who was also a film student at Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, during a students’ film festival in 2014.
She liked Dominic’s approach towards filmmaking and shared her ideas. In 2016, the duo collaborated on a film project as Jianshang agreed to produce Dominic’s Garo-language film Ma.Ama.
“We shared a lot of similar stuff, like how to make a film…then we realised that we need to support each other if we want to make films. And that’s how we came onboard. I liked the idea of what kind of films Dominic wants to make…the goal of an artist. So, I just wanted to be a supporter to make this project,” Jianshang told The News Mill.
Ma.Ama is a Garo film that narrates the story of the 90-year-old protagonist who has lived every day of the past 30 years waiting to be reunited with his dead wife, Anna. The film has already won the national award besides some of the major awards in various international film festivals across the globe.
“The idea is universal, though there are cultural differences. So, I don’t think the cultural boundaries are important here. One thing that really touched me in making Ma.Ama is something about an old man’s journey. There are not many films that deal with the older people,” said the 28-year-old producer.
Jianshang also believed that to survive, independent filmmakers should be united and move ahead.
“The difficulty of being an independent filmmaker is same everywhere. We need to unite together to survive and march forward. We really need to help each other…find out people who believe in you. Also accept the fact that we need to struggle a lot. Just keep moving one project after another. You will find a way out,” Jianshang, who also a part of Dominic’s second project, further said.
Second project ‘The Rapture’ was started in 2018. ‘Rapture’ has been selected in La Fabrique Cinéma 2019.
The word ‘Rapture’ is taken from the Bible, which denotes the disappearance of good souls before the end of time. The film is about the disappearance of some people from a village and what happened afterwards. And then, how they would react and response to it.
“I brought the project to the Busan Asian School Projects and then selected in film bazaar, the largest film market in South Asia. We also have a Dutch co-producer on board now. Next November, I will bring this project to the Talents Tokyo,” Jianshang said.
For Dominic, he has been lucky to have a producer like Jianshang who gives creative liberty to the director.
“She has always been there. And it’s because of her that the film was at La Fabrique. She is the one who really pushed it forward. And as a director I am happy that she has given me complete freedom to do what I want to do. It is very important for the producer to have trust on the director at least creatively – the belief in the artistic vision of the director,” Dominic told The News Mill.