Interview with The Field writer and director Sandhya Suri and producer Balthazar de Ganay
Date posted: 10.08.2018
Created through the London Calling scheme, with the participation of Canal+ and the CNC, The Field is a vibrant, sumptuous, intimate short film set and shot on location in India, centered around a female laborer in an agricultural village. The Field has been selected to screen at Toronto International Film Festival this September.
We spoke to writer and director Sandhya Suri and producer Balthazar de Ganay about the influences behind the film, their experiences shooting it and their plans for the future.
The short film focuses on a poor agricultural female laborer leading a double life in the village's last remaining cornfield, and was influenced by the strong agricultural themes in the work of Thomas Hardy and Chekhov’s short stories. Written at a time when news channels are populated with stories about sexual violence against women in India, writer and director Suri “wanted to make a film about a women taking and owning her sexual desires.” The focus on the central character is “not about what is done to her but rather what she chooses to do.”
Shooting the film on location in India was not without its challenges. “This is a story about the last field still standing in a village, so finding a standalone field over which we had some measure of control was very tricky, especially from thousands of miles away” explained producer Balthazar de Ganay. “The heat was also an issue as in northern India, the corn harvest happens on the hottest week of the year, just before the rains so it was 50 degrees Celsius!”
The Field was funded and developed through Film London’s London Calling initiative, with funding from BFI NETWORK and Creative Skillset. How was their experience of the scheme? “The execs were amazing,” said Suri. “They really showed trust and support throughout on a risky and ambitious project,” added de Ganay. What would their advice be for filmmakers looking to make their first short film? “Make the script perfect, and collaborate with people of varied levels of experience.”
Looking to the future
What’s next for the duo? “I will be concentrating on my first feature Santosh which was developed in the Sundance Labs and is now with Inflammable Films in the UK,” Suri says. They will both be heading to Toronto in September, where The Field has been selected to screen at TIFF, where they will be pitching new projects, meeting US filmmakers and of course, celebrating at one of the world’s top film festivals.
Click here to for more information on how we are supporting new and emerging filmmakers make their short films via BFI NETWORK.