One of 8 filmmakers in the prestigious AFI Directing Workshop for Women, Shilpi Roy is making RING, a rom-com about an Indian-American woman who goes on a surprise blind date but gets tangled up in a stranger's failed wedding proposal. Your contribution can be tax deductible! Join us!
Inclusion StatementRING is a movie about a marginalized population: Indians and Indian-Americans. It is written and directed by a woman of color. One of RING's primary purposes is to subvert stereotypes by presenting an honest and authentic portrayal of Indian-Americans in the media.
About The Project
We reached $30,000 in 8 days! This is amazing. But the thing is: filmmaking is expensive. That was the bare minimum we needed to make this a great film. but I want to make it my GREATEST FILM EVER! To do that, we need to get to $40,000! What do we need that extra $10,000 for?
TO BUILD A SET!
I have very specific ideas in mind for 1 of my locations - the bathroom where all the bonding takes places between these strangers. I know I will never find the exact bathroom I need. Plus, bathrooms are small! We need to be able to fit a lot of equipment in them! My producers have informed me that the MINIMUM amount of money necessary to build a bathroom set will be $10,000. So that's what we're gonna do, if you can get us there!
At $40,000, ALL contributors get a'MAKING OF' video!
This will be longer than the actual movie guys :). We'll hire a Behind the Scenes film crew to document the process every step of the way and send you a private link! It'll include interviews with the cast and crew, as well as the moment to moment chaos of what it's like to make movies. It's an insider look exclusively for our contributors!
RING is the story of Shalini, an Indian-American woman who, while on a bad blind date, bonds with Stacey, a stranger in the bathroom who's just turned down her boyfriend's wedding proposal! Shalini uses her past heartbreak to help Stacey through her relationship crisis, and in doing so, figures out how to move forward with her own love-life. It's a movie about living life on your own terms, trusting your instincts, and...
bonding in bathrooms with strangers!!
But wait! It's actually a lot deeper than that...
This film explores the complexity of interracial relationships.
You see, Stacey is in a relationship with an Indian guy and Shalini just broke up with a white guy. Shilpi, the writer/director, knows a thing or two about this. Shilpi is Indian-American, but is married to a white guy. In fact he's the cinematographer of the film! Shilpi and Anthony met in film school at the University of Southern California and immediately hit it off. But they wrestled with the questions that most people in interracial relationships must ask themselves.
Will society judge us?
Will our families judge us?
Will our own cultural bias make us judge each other?
Is this going to be worth it?
You can see where Shilpi and Anthony ended up on these issues...
It worked out for them, but it doesn't work that way for everyone in an interracial relationship. The difficulties of falling in love with someone of a different race and culture can often feel insurmountable, not only because of societal and family pressures, but also because of your own pre-conceived notions! RING is Shilpi's attempt to help unpack some of these issues, thoughts, and concerns, in a way that still makes people laugh!
This film is being made because Shilpi was selected into the extremely prestigious AFI DWW - American Film institute's Directing Workshop for Women. The program was designed to help women directors achieve success in a male-dominated industry. It selects 8 women out of hundreds of applicants who are then given training, guidance, and mentors, all culminating in a short film that serves to jumpstart their directing careers. Some notable fellows of AFI DWW include:
- Leslie Linka-Glatter, Director/Producer on Showtime’s HOMELAND
- Sian Heder, whose feature film TALLULAH premiered at Sundance
- Sara Shapiro Gertrude, Creator of UNREAL on Lifetime TV
- Courtney Hoffman, of DWW 2017, is now attached to direct RUTHLESS, an Amblin Entertainment feature film, Steven Spielberg’s company
Why Support Female Directors?
There's a lot of data out there that you can parse, but the bottom line is this:
Women directors, especially women of color, are constantly passed over for jobs.
Don't believe me? Here are some stats:
Look at that statistic in the top right. 1.9% of directors in 2014. That number is so low we don't even feel like making a joke about it. AFI DWW is trying to combat this because when you put more women -- especially women of color -- BEHIND the camera, its starts to change the way stories are told IN FRONT OF the camera. No one wants to know how the sausage is made but -- trust me on this -- filmmaking is the one time you want to know WHO'S MAKING THE SAUSAGE! Shilpi is a woman of color writing and directing stories about women of color. You can probably count the number of times that combo has happened in your lifetime on ONE HAND.
This is Shilpi 'making the sausage' aka directing!
When South Asians are represented in the media, it's often as a stereotype. Ever seen Apu from the Simpsons? Ever watched a terrorist on TV? Ever seen a portrayal of the naive immigrant Indian?.... Oh, what's that? You've seen these many, many, MANY times?? Congrats, you've just been introduced to Indian stereotypes!
RING is different because it portrays Indian-Americans as... wait for it.... AMERICANS. We're actually not that different from Joe Schmoe, and we'd love to spread this message across the country. We've got some notables who're helping dispells the myths and the stereotypes -- Mindy Kaling, Priyanka Chopra, Aziz Ansarai -- but that's just a drop in the bucket. We need more stories that revolve around Indian-Americans that are portrayed as regular people, not stereotypes. That's what the RING team is trying to do, and that's why we hope you'll join us!
Oh, and did we mention that AFI is a 501(c)(3), ie a non-profit institution? You know what that means! (Sorry they made us say this next part). Please check with your tax preparer regarding your eligibility, but to the extent that the law allows...
CONTRIBUTIONS CAN BE TAX DEDUCTIBLE!
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
Shilpi Roy is the writer/director of RING, and she knows a thing or two about interracial relationships. She's married to Anthony Chiappetti Kuhnz, the cinematographer and official Straight White Man on the project!
Shilpi and Anthony met in film school at USC where they were both getting MFA's in Film Production. They immediately connected as filmmakers. Anthony shot Shilpi's thesis film THE INDIAN & THE SAMURAI. A buddhist himself, Anthony has always been attracted to Eastern culture and philosphies. Shilpi admired his artistic sensibility and keen eye on set... and eventually off set too :).
Anthony and Shilpi get married
Mandi Reno-Matarrese is a dear friend of Shilpi and Anthony's. Mandi produced season 2 of Shilpi's acclaimed web series HIPSTERHOOD, and they've been friends and co-workers ever since. Mandi's tenacity and determination make her an amazing producer who knows how to orchestrate a production from start to finish. She immediately related to the dynamic female characters and the complexity of relationships in RING and wanted to jump on board. Shilpi was elated to have her!
A behind-the-scenes photo from Hipsterhood
Ashim Ahuja met Shilpi via a friend, and came on-board the project as he was immediately attracted to the material. A fellow Indian who is also in an interracial relationship, Ashim and Shilpi immediately hit it off. Through an amazing coincidence, Ashim also knew Mandi through various filmmaking circles.
*Ok, so this picture was photoshopped. But we swear, Mandi and Ashim were actually at the Sundance Women's March together! David and Derrick, while there in spirit, were not there in person.
David Weidoff got in touch with Shilpi after reading the script. He was immediately taken by the relatability of the story, even though he's not female or straight. It spoke to him, and he wanted to jump on board and help get this movie made! As a writer/actor/director who is also a web series creator, Shilpi and David hit it off right away. David brings his creative insights to the movie, to help ensure it's amazing!
Derrick Small is a former Marine and filmmaker, he came on board after meeting Mandi who was very impressed with his tenacity, skill and work ethic. Derrick our ninja - he comes in whereever and whenever we need him to get the job done right! The rest of the team is so excited to have him on board for this journey!
And thus, the dream team was born!
SHILPI ROY - Writer/Director
Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, Shilpi Roy comes from a traditional Indian family. Shilpi received an MFA in Film Production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. She wrote and directed the award-winning web series HIPSTERHOOD. She has also directed episodes of the Emmy®-winning web series EMMA APPROVED. Shilpi sold her first television show, BROWN GIRLS, to Freeform TV. She has worked with notable TV producers Warren Littlefield (FARGO, HANDMAID’S TALE), Aaron Kaplan (AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, LIFE IN PIECES), Nastaran Dibai (DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, ACCORDING TO JIM), and Mark Cendrowski (THE BIG BANG THEORY). Shilpi also directs industrial and educational videos for Google and YouTube. Learn more about her at shilpiroy.com.
MANDI RENO-MATARRESE - Producer
Mandi has built a freelance career in development and production, commonly a consulting producer for third party production companies. Her producing experience ranges from independent film, to corporate commercials and network TV. She joined the Director's Guild of America in 2016 as a UPM for her work on FUN MOM DINNER. Mandi wrote and directed her first short film, OLD FASHIONED in 2016 and is in development on a new documentary, SAVING MISS AMERICA. Mandi's passion for storytelling lies in creative development of subject matter she finds interesting and risky, that showcase multi-dimensional female leads. A beach loving white girl from Southern California, Mandi now lives in Oakland with her husband Joe Matarrese and their cat Sofia.
ASHIM AHUJA - Co-Producer
After graduating from San Francisco State University's Cinema Production program, Ashim worked at various film festivals before settling in Los Angeles. Over the past 5 years Ashim has worked in film, television, commercial, and digital production. He has produced documentary, narrative, and branded content for notable production companies such as RocketJump, Lionsgate, Hulu, and Macro Ventures.
ANTHONY CHIAPPETTI KUHNZ - Cinematographer
Anthony graduated from Northwestern with a Film and Television degree before receiving an MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in Cinematography. He’s shot hundreds of hours of content, from eHarmony commercials, to feature films to TV shows such as IMPRESS ME, which aired on PopTV. Anthony is also a prolific musician and motion graphics artist. When not creating amazing visuals, Anthony enjoys traveling the world with his wife Shilpi (and his camera).
DAVID WEIDOFF - Associate Producer
David grew up in the suburbs of Sacramento, CA. He holds a BFA in Acting from the USC School of Dramatic Arts. In Los Angeles, David has worked extensively as an actor in film, television, and theater. He helped form the production company Red Ladders Entertainment where he co-created and produced the award-winning web series, MERRIme.com. Most recently, David founded HEY BUNCH! Productions where he wrote and directed the comedy short, HOME (Kinda) ALONE, as well as, SHPEELBERG: One Man. One Movie.
DERRICK SMALL - Associate Producer
Derrick Small is a filmmaker from Brooklyn, NY. After serving 8-years as Marine photo and broadcast journalist he received a Master of Fine Art’s in Film Production from Long Island University. Small produced and directed Art-Is-Umm: The Way to Heal, a documentary exploring the benefits of art, music and drama on the development of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has also produced and directed a range of films, music videos and poetic creative projects under D.S. Artistry Productions. More of his work is available at dsartistry.com.