Ben Rekhi: Cinema is meant to be a shared experience


Indian origin filmmaker Ben Rekhi feels film festivals hold a lot of significance at any stage in one’s career. Rekhi, whose documentary “The Reunited States” has been shown at multiple film festivals, adds that cinema is an experience that needs to be enjoyed with others.

“I think at any point in a career, film festivals are of tremendous value for both the filmmaker and the audience to interact with each other. Cinema is meant to be a shared experience, which is suffering now owing to the closure of movie theatres over the past year. Film festivals are places where we are able to meet each other in person,” he told IANS.

The film has been screened at Cinequest Film and Creativity Festival, Nashville Film Festival, United Nations Association Film Festival, and Virginia Film Festival among others. Rekhi says film festivals as these are a great experience because they allow makers to interact with the audience and get feedback.

“There’s nothing more powerful than being in a dark room together and sharing a story, and film festivals allow you to generate a lot of press, connect with your audience, experience real-time feedback, connect with other filmmakers, and build connections and resources. We’re grateful to continue making the types of movies that film festivals want to screen. They (festivals) are not right for every film but for many films they are,” he says.

Talking about his documentary, he says he is happy to be able to depict what is happening in the world through his films.

“‘The Reunited States’ came to me after the 2016 elections. I had typically done fictional films up until that point but the landscape of US politics had changed and I became fascinated with how my work could inform this new reality that we found ourselves in. So, the idea of non-fiction and turning the camera around on reality to try and understand it and help us manoeuvre became an obsession for me,” he says.

Rekhi’s film “The Reunited States” is a documentary that aims at urging all Americans to realise everyone has a role to play in reuniting the country.