The Coalition Profile #1: Lights On Films
23 January 2014
With the dawn of The Coalition on the horizon, we decided to get a little further acquainted with some people in the creative sector in India who are doing things a little differently.
First up is Satyarth Singh, founder of Lights On Films. Possibly one of the hardest working people we’ve come across, his passion for film and documenting the alternative culture and lifestyle scene in India has resulted in some incredibly insightful short films. Lights On Films recently turned 2 and to celebrate they released a wonderful montage of their work over the last 2 years. We were really impressed and decided to find out more…
Describe what you do
At Lights On Films we focus on short films, documentaries on art and the ever growing urban culture varying from music to design, art, films, surfing, mountain, even biking. We also do music videos and cover music/art festivals wherever we get the opportunity to.
Tell us how you got here
I finished School in 2007 and moved to Pune to study design for a 4 year professional degree where I specialised in filmmaking under the elective Communication Design.
After leaving college I had my first internship in Delhi, where I worked for 6 months as an assistant director and then shifted to another firm where I worked as a production head. In the second firm, I worked for about 3 months before getting a few freelance projects. This led to January 2012 when I started Lights On Films by myself with the little savings that I had from my freelance earnings and that's what led to me making my first movie 'Echoes'.
What is unique about your company?
Here at LOF, money is honestly not the priority, it hasn't been... for simple reasons:
1. It doesn't come that easy 2. What we specialise in or want to specialise in doesn't have that much of money in it.
Here we try to just follow our passion of filmmaking, music and art. We just bring it all together from diverse cultures and project it through our lens. We try to maintain a healthy, good relationship with the artists we work with as we both know that we will need each other today or tomorrow for other jobs. That is how it works if you are doing something independently.
What is the vision for your company?
In 5 years time, I'd personally like to see Lights On Films as a studio creating full-time films similar to what we do right now, but on a much larger scale. I'd want to support other independent filmmakers, produce their movies and give them a platform so they can go somewhere fruitful.
As for me, I'd want to be able to help upcoming people following their passion, when it comes to independent cinema or independent art, from any field to get them to a better level, through our films. For example, if we look at a snowboarder from Kashmir, he has just the mountains and his snowboard to do what he wants to. It is at that point I'd want Lights On Films to come into the picture and help him get to a stage where his skills could be acknowledged and he can make a living out of it, rather than selling tea - which his family does in the hills right now. And yes, this guy exists and he is brilliant.
What is your biggest obstacle at the moment?
Two things: 1. The universal obstacle: money… and 2. A platform where I could take my films or ideas for films or anything that I have and share with the hope to get a positive reply or a boost for the same.
What do you feel is your largest achievement to date?
The first screening of Echoes back in 2012. It was my first independent project and seeing it travel to various cities - being screened and talked about was the best feeling I've ever had. That is what turns out to be the most special moment for anyone who does what they do. So, for me undoubtedly the best moment has been the process of making the movie as I did it all alone, the shooting and finally seeing it screened.
What do you anticipate being the key to your success?
I think patience and just the will to keep going and do what I want to do.
Who inspires you?
As a person or a filmmaker, I am a hardcore fan of Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan. For Scorsese the way he executes his films, in terms of editing and long stretched shots, I can sit there and watch his stuff through the year. As for Nolan, the way he portrays a story is just brilliant, for example Batman Trilogy, a comic that was turned into something so dark yet beautiful; that's something I really look up to. Something that has inspired me a lot to do what I am doing today, is this documentary called PressPausePlay, nothing has inspired me more than that film.
Why do you need the Coalition?
I think the Coalition could be the platform that I need for a lot of ideas that have just been brewing in my head for films about India's urban culture. It would definitely help me as I know I will get to meet a lot of interesting people who will not only be on the same wavelength as me but also want to do something outside the box, or rather with the box.
Lastly, any pearls of wisdom to share
If I had to give one it would be; patience. To top it off, don't think "money" because it will eventually come in if you are doing what you love. At the end of the day following your passion will pay you off much more than doing something you don't want to do. Patience, will and a passion is all one needs to do anything they want.
You can check out the Lights On Films 2 year showcase below: