April 7th, 2011 18:43 EST
The 2011 Reelworld Film Festival: Interview with Vikas Kohli
The 11th annual Reelworld Film Festival (RWFF), which was founded by Tonya Lee Williams (Olivia Winters, The Young & The Restless), continues to celebrate cultural diversity with music videos, films, and documentaries from all over the world in honor of Canada that includes Snow and Not Just a Game.
Friday night comes the world premiere of JRDN`s new music video at The Famous Players Canada Square (2190 Yonge Street, Toronto), follow by a Q&A session with iconic hip-hop artist/actor Wes "Maestro" Williams, who is also the host of the After Party at the LIVE Nightclub (332 Richmond Street West, Toronto). Tickets for either and/or both of these events are currently sale for $20 each, but you can get in the After Party for free with your ticket from Music Video Night.
The Brilliance Awards ceremony will be at the Brunch Easter Sunday morning at 11a, where Vikas Kohli of FatLabs will receive the honor of winning the Trailblazer Award for his contributions in both film and music.
* How does it feel to be the first composer to receive this honor?
Vikas Kohli: It feels pretty amazing and at the same time makes me want to work harder. At the end of the day, this is really a shared award because the music I compose for films is always collaborative with the filmmakers. So I owe all the talented directors, producers, editors, actors and crews that create the films that allow people to hear my music.
* Doesn`t winning the Trailblazer Award marks as one of the pinnacles of your career so far?
VK: It`s definitely a highlight to be recognized by an established festival like ReelWorld. The award reassures me that following my gut and working with good people always pays off in the end.
* What do you look for when composing films as well as writing/producing songs for other artists, and what do you and the audience hope to get out of it?
VK: When composing for a film, it`s all about finding a way to enhance the story while maintaining the aesthetic that has been setup by the director and crew, such as the DOP, etc. Personally, I like to create cutting edge music and I like to work with filmmakers that are also trying to create something unique. And I take the same attitude when co-writing and producing artists. In general, you`ve got to do something to stand out. The difference is that when working on an album, the end all be all is the song and everything else is supportive. Whereas in film, the end all be all is the story and the music is supportive.
* What and who were your musical influences growing up and why?
VK: Growing up, I mostly listened to anything that would p*** off parents and teachers. Why? To p*** off parents and teachers. Thankfully, my parents were fantastic and let me indulge is the silly antics of a teenage boy listening to The Dead Milkmen, The Sex Pistols and The Dayglo Abortions. Fortunately, for everyone`s sanity, I expanded my musical tastes to the point where sometimes I think the young me would think the current me is unrecognizable. But no matter how many multi-chordal harmonies I play with on an assortment of world instruments that I can`t pronounce the names of, I will always love a kick-ass Gibson guitar through a Mesa Boogie stack.
* This is going to sound stupid, but I have to ask: what the heck IS Bollywood? How is it different than Hollywood -- especially with the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) and the Academy Awards/Oscars?
VK: Bollywood seems to be a modern slang for mainstream Indian Cinema. Similar to Hollywood, it`s all about glamour and over-the-top stories. The difference is that where Hollywood abandoned its musical past, Bollywood embraced it. The similarity is that both genres of filmmaking offer high-budget escapism to millions of people all over the world and have glitzy award shows. Hollywood has the Oscars and Bollywood has the IIFAs. It`ll be fantastic when the IIFAs come to town this summer with all its excess in tow. In 2008, a song I produced was performed live at the IIFAs in Bangkok, Thailand and this year, I`ve got something else in the works for the event.
* You just finished composing the music for Bouma, and is about to start composing with the Calcutta Taxi trilogy. Are you allowed to tell us a little bit about either one of them?
VK: Both of these projects are directed by Vikram Dasgupta, a very talented filmmaker and friend who I`ve worked with before. Bouma is a clever comedy filmed in India and Canada with the support of the National Film Board of Canada. It`s about how picking a spouse involves negotiating the families of the couple to be. Calcutta Taxi is also set in India, and has been funded by Bravo! -- but the story is far too cool to attempt to summarize.
* What else do you have on your plate later this year?
VK: There are two other dramas and another documentary in the pipeline right now. And I never stop co-writing and producing albums. I just finished a world-music album with some Russian and Ukrainian artists and I`m about to start working on a Kurdish dance album. It`s the brilliant and crazy musicians that I work with that push me to stay current and in return, you`ll often find these same musicians on the soundtracks of the films I work on.
A full online media kit with Kohli`s music samples, video clips, press shots and background material is available at: www.FatLabs.com/mediakit.
The film guide and screening schedule for Reelworld is now live at http://www.reelworld.ca/_bin/festival/films.cfm
To buy tickets, order online at reelworld.ca; click here at http://www.reelworld.ca/_bin/festival/schedule.cfm and call the ReelWorld ticketing hotline at 1-800-595-4849. Visit the ReelWorld office (438 Parliament Street, 2nd Floor) and then to the Cineplex Canada Square Box Office (2190 Yonge Street); times are yet to be confirmed.
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