Panjim: In a candid conversation at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 54th edition, the director of "Catching Dust", Stuart Gatt, shared insights into his Indian heritage, filmmaking journey, and the unique challenges faced during the creation of his directorial debut.Gatt, whose mother hails from Bangalore, expressed a deep connection to his Indian roots, even though it was his first visit back to the country. Recounting his childhood in a small mining town, KGF, the director mentioned the distinctive Indian household ambience he experienced, resonating with a broader Indian community in the UK.
Despite the physical distance, the director emphasized feeling connected to the motherland, echoing the sentiments of many Indians living abroad. He acknowledged the importance of this connection to his identity, especially considering the absence of his father during his upbringing.
Reflecting on the success of "Catching Dust,"Gatt described the surreal feeling of receiving a positive reception and expressed gratitude for the humbling experience. Making this film, his directorial debut, the director shared that he learned the importance of having confidence in one's creative choices, asserting that a filmmaker must trust their instincts.
Addressing the versatility of his filmmaking, Gatt highlighted that, despite the topical differences, universal human struggle themes connect all his works. He expressed a commitment to maintaining these core themes across his future projects.
One significant challenge faced during the production of "Catching Dust" was the difficulty in finding a suitable location in the United States. The director detailed the protective nature of American land, making it challenging to film in the most beautiful but protected locations. Eventually, the Canary Islands emerged as a surprising yet ideal alternative that offered the required landscape.
Discussing the impact of social media and streaming platforms on audience attention spans, the director acknowledged the need for varied content, including films like "Catching Dust," which serves as an antidote to short-form content.
Gatt also shared his experience working with renowned actors, emphasizing their commitment and trust in the project despite being a first-time filmmaker. He praised their ability to showcase a different side to their acting skills, contributing to the film's success.
When asked about his exposure to Bollywood, the director revealed a preference for classic cinema, citing Satyajit Ray as a significant influence. While expressing love for Bollywood, he affirmed his inclination towards classic filmmaking styles.
The conversation touched upon the director's short stay in India, including a visit to his mother's hometown in Bangalore. Despite being a first-time visitor, he expressed a desire to make films in India, particularly exploring stories related to the Asian diaspora.
In conclusion, Gatt shared his plans for "Catching Dust," indicating a possible journey to more festivals. He expressed eagerness to explore Indian cinema during his stay at IFFI, emphasizing the rich cultural presence maintained by the Indian diaspora worldwide.