We had the good fortune of connecting with Ananth Subramaniam and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ananth, what are you inspired by?
My biggest inspiration has always been other artists. Growing up, the usual suspects who inspired me were Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter (I know! I was allowed to watch PG films since young. Take it up with my parents!). But in recent years, I’ve found myself wandering away from the traditional directors and more towards writers, documentarians, and photographers. People like Sam Shepard, Sandi Tan & Richard Misrach have been a huge influence on my recent and upcoming works. Like, watching Shirkers really rejig the very meaning of “what can an artist do” for me. I’ve always reminded myself to untie the self-restraining shackles and feel free to discover new artists. It really helps me see my life in a different way and appreciate it a lot more!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
To say I had an epiphany would be an exaggeration. But for someone who grew up in Southeast Asia, where career options went along the lines of lawyers, doctors and engineers, I’m surely allowed to use the word epiphany. But I must admit, in the end, I did opt for the safer alternative. Perhaps that’s why I have an undergraduate in Architecture and a post-graduate in Filmmaking.
In hindsight, being a part filmmaker and part architect is the thing I’m most proud of. Perhaps, I didn’t appreciate it as much a few years ago. But now, I look at my stories and tackle them from an unexpected perspective. It just comes naturally to me. Thanks to the juxtaposition of this contrasting knowledge, my films often explore the subjects of my ancestral identity and family within the context of a multi-layered genre with ease. As a self-proclaimed genre filmmaker, with this consciousness, I hope to be able to entertain the world about my society, my country and whatever that is cooking inside the brain of mine at any given moment!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents for a start. You know, my dad had this story he used to tell me every night before bed, a story I never found out the ending to. It took me a while before realising his story would have gone on for as long as I needed one to fall asleep. Just like The Simpsons, 11 seasons and still going strong…ha. My mother, on the other hand, would tell me a story that lasted about 2 minutes, turned off the lights and pretty much commanded me to sleep. A short film much? That was my first introduction to different film formats. Unintentional? Sure. But I think my parents do deserve some credit for planting the idea in my head.
In recent years, I’ve had the honour of being a part of a film organisation I never anticipated to be a part of. Locarno Film Festival, Singapore International Film Festival, BMW Shorties these groups have definitely provided me with a home and support system to keep pushing myself and break boundaries.