Kavya Films founder Venu Kunnappilly and producer Arvind Harinath at Tribeca Film Festival l Credit: Getty Images

Following up on the successful premiere of SOMETHING ELSE at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, I had the opportunity to chat with producer Arvind Harinath. During our chat, we discussed everything about the escapism movies provide us in our everyday lives to what originally drew him to make SOMETHING ELSE Kavya Films’ first production and what we can hope to see in the future for Kavya Films.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. Movies have come to represent things for different people. For some, it’s just a form of entertainment. For others, it is an escape from the life in which they lead. How would you say that movies have impacted you throughout your life? And what have they come to represent for you?

Arvind Harinath: Growing up in Dubai played a huge role in me getting into films. It was like living in Tatooine, there was only so much you could do living in a man made city in the desert. I longed on being on the cusp of a great adventure and that’s exactly what films offered. It was my primary form of escapism and an opportunity to daydream sitting on my couch. I love being told a great story, it’s an appetite that can never be satisfied. Great storytelling through films enrich my life and I can’t imagine a world without it.

There are so many different types of films out there, but we all have our favorite types. For myself, I’ve found that I’m stuck between my love for both sappy Asian romance dramas and horror projects. I’ve heard that your love and passion is more focused on genre-specific films. What is it about genre films that holds such a special place for you?

Arvind Harinath: The concept of otherness and idea/hope that there might be something else out there. Horror films are often an exploration on faith and the known and the unknown. The unknown in horror films most often deal with monsters, aliens, haunted houses and ghosts. How cool is that? It’s escapism at its finest.

You briefly worked in the world of advertising. However, the call of filmmaking was strong and you ended up leaving to work for Kavya Films. If I may ask, what inspired the flip between industries? And how has your experience in advertising possibly helped within your work at Kavya Films?

Arvind Harinath: It wasn’t so much as an inspiration to go back as much as it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t refuse. I always wanted to make movies, Advertising was just a brief but satisfying detour. An opportunity to work under Venu Kunnappilly who had a vision of an Indian Production company producing films out in Hollywood and the freedom he gave me on focusing on producing genre films. My experience in Advertising was too brief to make a significant impact but what I think truly helped me was my love and respect for genre filmmaking. We aren’t out here to make a quick buck. When our names are on a film we want to make sure that film stands out.

Jeremy Gardner in SOMETHING ELSE

Something that I wish people did more of is blending genres together because there’s so much potential and growth that could benefit storytelling mediums by doing so. Your production company Kavya Films has done just that with the recent release of SOMETHING ELSE. What was it about the script and story of SOMETHING ELSE that drew you to tackle the project?

Arvind Harinath: The creative credit on SOMETHING ELSE should go to its parents Jeremy and Christian. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead are some of the best filmmakers in the Indie horror world and along with their producing partner and leader David Lawson, the trio launched their production company Rustic Films. I got a chance to meet them and they sent us SOMETHING ELSE. Once I read the script and checked out the incredible feat of filmmaking that was The Battery (2012), making SOMETHING ELSE Kavya’s first production became a no brainer. The script written by Jeremy Gardner definitely stood out from all the other ones that I had been reading. It took choices that I thought was bold and refreshing within the monster movie genre. And when you put that together with the style and sensibility of The Battery, I definitely thought that this is a movie that deserves to be seen. It’s heartening to see some of these choices resonating so well with the reviews coming out of Tribeca. And how can you pass on a chance on working with Justin and Aaron?!

What projects from Kavya Films should we be expecting in the future?

Arvind Harinath: When Mr.Kunnappilly launched Kavya Films, one thing that we really wanted to do was bridge India and Hollywood. The method of making movies is so drastically different in India and in the States. In Hollywood, the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed and planning and structure are ingrained into the filmmaking process. In India, it’s way more of a shoot from the hip method of filmmaking. There’s a lot we learned from the experience of making SOMETHING ELSE. But something that India has that I believe that Hollywood has not mined yet is the amazing talent, locations and filmmaking infrastructure available. We are Indian filmmakers producing Hollywood films and there are not a lot of us, especially in Indie horror. What we want to do is act as a creative bridge between the two countries and make films that only we might be capable of delivering.

SOMETHING ELSE had its world premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. You can read our review of the film HERE.

Sarah Musnicky
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