Writing on the Wall

Laptop computer with opened lid on table in meeting room of office workspace.

Most mornings I wake up with a clean slate..all that’s on my mind is making coffee and spending some alone time before the kids wake up. This morning I resolve to write down all the ideas swirling around in my head, ideas for shorts, stories and projects. Never mind the missed opportunities and the voice of doubt that was whispering mean things to me last night. It’s a new day, I’m going to make it count. I open my laptop, check my email and decide to take a ‘quick look’ at my social accounts before writing.. :/..you know how that goes. Rapidly, my maker energy ebbs, I become a consumer, searching in the giant world of things, places and people for some meaning,  looking outwards instead of inwards.

I go from a friend’s pictures holidaying in Bali, to researching how much it costs to vacation there, from there a yoga retreat, that a friend has tagged, so I explore the yoga retreat and the yoga teachers doing yoga in hauntingly beautiful, verdant spaces. I think, this is the year I should try yoga and begin to have that glowing skin and lean body too. Back to scrolling with a twinge of low self-regard. I look at some pictures of friends partying locally, check out the location and decide it’s too expensive for me to visit. I’m feeling a bit more like a loser now. I scroll.

I come upon the devastating story of a Sikh Police officer in Houston, Sandeep Dhaliwal, who was shot in the back of the head during a routine traffic stop. I read an article about the proliferation of online child sexual abuse in the New York Times. 45 million cases found this year. 45 million instances of CHILD abuse. I quickly exit, with a tightness in my chest. I look at the clock, its been 90 minutes. 90 minutes of looking at too many things in the world, emotions darting up and down, time spent with nothing to show for it. For too long my creative, personal time is taken over by lazy me, me who would rather scroll than write, scroll than run, look outwards instead of inwards.

At first, social media was the ‘water hole’ of the internet, a place to meet other humans, learn about the important things in the community and go back to living my life. But then the community got wider, the places more distant, the lives more different and all the pictures, the articles, the comments, the outrage…

The watering hole must be visited in small, meaningful doses lest the internal well of empathy, ideas and creative impulses dries up. Technology brings a lot of positivity and productivity when one looks in the right places. I am eternally grateful for my Masterclass subscription and all the wonderful masters I get to meet and learn from in a very intimate, natural and well produced style. Lately I’ve been spending time sharpening my skills on CreativeLive and StudioBinder‘s YouTube channel too. If you are interested in developing yourself professionally in Film, Photography and web try these websites, they are wonderful tools for self development.

The writing is on the wall for me, going forward, more making/doing, less consuming. More positive use of technology.

Land of the Free?

This brilliant PSA by Sandy Hook Promise captures perfectly the fear and anxiety we live with, in America today.

As a mother of two school-aged kids, gun violence has been an unsettling fear since the heartbreaking events at Sandy Hook in 2012. I remember vividly the dread I felt bringing my 7-year-old daughter to her 1st-grade classroom the day after the news broke. With every mass-shooting, the coil in my stomach feels wound a little tighter, ready to snap at the slightest provocation. 

Bringing the kids back to school this Fall was especially nerve-wracking after a traumatic experience during a summer trip to New York. On August 6th, my family and I had a taste of what it would be like to be hunted by an active shooter. After dinner one night we took the kids to Times Square to show them the lights. While taking pictures we heard a series of loud bangs, we scanned the sky for fireworks, none were visible, a hush fell over the Square for a moment and then the crowd erupted in screams. People started running to get away from what they thought were gunshots, a very plausible scenario within a week of two back to back mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

My family and I were swept up in the crowd and pushed into a Gap, some people fell and were trampled, but everyone kept running for cover. We ran into the men’s restroom, 15 strangers huddled in a bathroom stall, praying and crying as quietly as possible. I was ready for the end, my loved ones pressed against my chest, heart-pounding, hot tears rushing down my face, mentally preparing how I would throw my body to protect my children when the gunman came in. After a harrowing 10 minutes, the staff at The Gap told us we were safe, there was no active shooter.

We were all extremely shaken up by the experience, nearly running the entire two blocks back home, startling at every sound. A tweet I posted that night led to a New York Times reporter emailing me the next day to document the panic of the previous night.

The reporter was able to capture the collective PTSD we all suffer from very eloquently.

There was no Gunfire in Times Square. But the Panic was still Real

Imagine living in a country where a loud sound makes people think, ‘oh it must be an engine backfiring’ not, run for your life, it’s an active shooter. Both sides of the gun control argument have screamed themselves hoarse, but the deaths continue, our children are growing up with a fear of being shot to death. Is this how we want our children to grow up in the ‘Land of the Free?’ Gun safety is my NUMBER ONE priority as a parent. Please TAKE ACTION in your community, take action before you’re the next person hunted by a madman with a gun.

My film Mae on Amazon Prime

Mae_poster

So Excited to share that my film Mae is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of an amazingly passionate cast and crew and the Solid support of my family and friends. Thank you all for your hand in making this a dream come true. Please Buy, rent, watch and review!

My first Kickstarter!

So excited to share the fundraiser for the short film Mae, that I am directing. Funders willing, we will be shooting in the Bombay beach/ Joshua Tree areas at the end of April. This is a story, about two sisters rich with emotion and depth. Please check out our campaign. Watch the video, read about our award winning team and please support us!

Who needs Art?

DSCF2716

“Human beings need oxygen, food, water, sunshine and sleep to survive. Money can buy most of those. What is the purpose of Art? Who needs that tug at the heart when you listen to a piece of music? There’s no need for the lump in your throat when you watch a moment of beauty on a screen. What good is a museum? A place with countless pictures on the wall from God knows when and sculptures taking up space? Such a waste. What good are the tears that sting your eyes when you are moved by a piece of art, writing, film or music? There’s no need to absorb, question and express your feelings about the world, your life experience, your feelings – it’s a waste of time. Art has no purpose. We need to use our resources on making corporations more profitable and our country safer. Am I right?” – Akilajna

See what artists are doing to #SaveTheNEA here

 

My Photography page

screenshot-2017-02-08-10-01-44

Yesterday I shared my new photography page on Facebook. Many friends liked, commented and shared it. I’ve done photography for friends and family informally for years. Putting a page together and announcing it to the world felt good! It was a fun and easy process to create it with  Adobe Spark. Check out Adobe Spark to tell your own stories, about your business, your vacations, your fundraisers or anything you want! I also found a cool free app for scheduling called Calendly. It’s easy to set up and did I mention it’s FREE!

What you give

This saying on the wall at Ada’s Cafe in the Palo Alto Public library really struck me. We all need to make a living by being compensated for our time and skills..but what brings us and the world fulfillment is how we make a LIFE – by GIVING. I’m going to give all I’ve got to make the world more just, peaceful, joyful and beautiful. Time is ticking everyday and I have so much more to give. My living will come, my life can’t wait!
Churchil

My Conversation with Nagraj Manjule

This video of my conversation with Nagraj Manjule at IFFLA 2014 has been viewed thousands of times over the past few weeks since the release of Nagraj’s new film Sairat – the highest grossing Marathi film of all time and one that created a stir at Berlinale and Cannes. Sairat treads on familiar thematic territory for Nagraj, the archaic and iniquitous caste system of India. There may have been affirmative action in India to create ‘an even playing field’ but the reality of discrimination on the basis of caste is still widely prevalent throughout India today. The ‘topic’ of star crossed lovers, unable to be together because they don’t belong to the same ‘class’ and/ or ‘caste’ has been glossed over superficially in mainstream cinema ad nauseum, but it takes a man with the sensitivity, humanity, courage  and ‘truth-telling’ of Nagraj Manjule to call it like it IS. This interview about Fandry, his first film holds true for Sairat too, I am sure.

“It’s not a story for me, it’s my real life, it’s what I see around me that I tell stories about.”

Here is a trailer of Sairat..now to get this film to San Diego some how..

Here is Part 2 of my conversation with Nagraj in 2014, enjoy!

 

 

Moms Demand Action!

June 2nd is National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Attend a local Orange Walk to show your support for this Gun Violence Prevention. So proud to contribute my time for making this promo video. #WearOrange #MomsDemandAction

 

Adobe Voice:Easy video in minutes 

My 6 year old is ‘star of the week’ at school, that means he gets to feel special, one of the best perks of being star is getting to bring ‘Oski’, the class mascot home for a week! Very exciting stuff. He just made his  first of many videos on @Adobe Voice. It’s free and awesome! The possibilities of this little app are endless. Love it! Check out his 39 seconds of cuteness..

https://voice.adobe.com/a/aMdgy

<iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/108841140" width="500" height="372" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/108841140">Unless A Death Occurs</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user18147375">Anjalika Sharma</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

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