oru hudugi in Hollywood! – Meet the local lass who has worked as a production designer for Hollywood films like Unspeakable and Where The Water Runs.
Women always prove their abilities by showcasing what they are capable of. Bengaluru girl Harshitha Reddy is setting her own mark on the Hollywood sets as a production designer and art director. She is determined to challenge the stereotypes and enhance not just her name but change perceptions of ‘conservative’ South Indian girls.
Harshitha Reddy, who is now based in Los Angeles, was born and raised in Bengaluru. She believes in making thought-provoking content like Ava DuVerney. She talks about her first short film that won numerous applause and accolades and says, “Moth is not a new idea. It is about Christine, a working actor of Asian descent who is fading into obscurity. But, what intrigued me the most was how the director wanted to present it and his idea to address various issues like diversity, gender parity, ageism and sexism including the sensitive issue of #metoo.”
This movie is being selected for most of the film festivals; it won several awards and inspired her to focus more.
Her other notable works as a designer are Unspeakable and Where The Water Runs.
Harshitha’s holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture switched her path. Her biggest fear of being stuck at a desk job was always her driving force and motivated to pursue her passion. She adds, “Going to AFI played a big role in paving my path into Hollywood. Right after graduation, I applied to the Production Assistant Internship program at the Art Department Union in Hollywood called the ‘Art Director Guild-800’. After reviewing my portfolio, they deemed me overqualified to be a PA and pre-approved of me to become an Asst. Art Director. This opened the way into the Art Directors Union which catapulted my career.”
Lake House and The Prestige designed by Nathan Crowley are the films pushed her to quit her job and start working towards her real goal.
When asked about the difference between Indian films and Hollywood, she opined, “With my experience in Hollywood and observation on Indian films, I get a sense that Hollywood is much more structured and streamlined. It is mostly content-driven as opposed to Indian films which often bank on the leading male actors although it is changing now.”
Ava DuVerney’s powerful stories has inspired Harshita. She shares her experience of working with Ava. “Ava has tirelessly worked towards increasing awareness of diversity and gender parity. In fact, she managed to achieve full gender parity with a production crew of over 50 per cent women, including 18 female department heads. I hope to keep working with filmmakers like Ava to create thought-provoking content that makes a difference,” said Harshitha.
Sharing her long-term goals to work as a production designer in India she said, “After many failed attempts at getting into Tollywood, art director Peketi Ranga Rao hired me to work for hi. However, I was just working on for large weddings and corporate events and my exposure to filmmaking was zero. By the time I got into my graduation programme, it was also the time the TV industry and multiple OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime were taking off. Considering the rate at which they produced good quality content, it was evident there would be a growing need for well-trained professionals. But my long term goal is to work as a production designer in India.”