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    • ABOUT

      Titled from the ancient Sanskrit word for "culture", Sanskriti is a documentary filmed around the world, that captures the human experience in today's digital age. Following the lives of four young adults from China, Kenya, Finland, and the USA, the film chronicles the day-to-day experiences of Millennials coming of age in the digital era. Acting as a portrait of a generation, the film celebrates human progress, and encourages re-examination of our relationships with each other, and our iPhones.




      Los Angeles-based filmmaker. Passionate about media, travel, culture, and storytelling in any form, she uses filmmaking as medium through which to more deeply explore and understand the world, and her place in it. Melissa grew up in the suburbs of and attended NYU for Film and Television Production. Sanskriti is her first feature film.


      • International Peace & Film Festival Orlando, USA 2015 
      • Doc Sunback Film Festival Mulvane, Kansas, USA 2015 
      • Mosaic World Film Festival Rockford, USA 2015 
      • Joshua Tree International Film Festival, USA 2015 
      • Bushwick Film Festival Brooklyn, USA 2015 
      • Chagrin Documentary Film Festival Chagrin Falls, USA 2015 
      • Filmmakers World Festival Jakarta, Indonesia 2015 

      "Sanskriti" was born in August of 2012. I had just arrived in Hohoe, a small rural town in Ghana, on a week-long international volunteer placement. Though I was not new to international travel, my first experiences that week in Ghana left me shaken, moved, and inspired. Never before had I encountered people who, paradoxically, seemed so removed and far from me, and yet so familiar.


      An encounter that stayed with me happened when I had to wash some clothes. A woman one year younger than I, wearing sneakers and a Tweety Bird t-shirt, showed me, with the familiarity and nonchalance that I would load a washing machine, how to fill a bucket with cold water from the spigot behind the house, rub my clothes together with powdered laundry soap, and hang them to dry on the clotheslines. She laughed and shook her head when I asked if she had ever left Ghana, but said she hoped to one day. A week later, after I arrived back home to my fifth floor studio apartment, which now seemed grossly over-furnished, she friended me on Facebook. Clicking the 'Accept' button, I tried to understand how we could be so radically different, and yet strikingly similar.


      It was from this experience, and many others like it, that "Sanskriti" grew. First as a feeling, an idea, and then into something bigger. After months of research, reading, Skype calls, and long late-night discussions with my producers, I assembled a small crew of friends, and we took off. Armed with cameras and open-ended curiosity, we traveled across four continents, seeking answers to the questions that plagued me since I accepted that initial friend request: what is this thing, this familiarity, that connects and bonds two young women across cultural and geographical borders? How does our digital connectivity aid, support, or possibly negate the relationship created offline, that day in Ghana? What does it mean when a girl from a developing country, who has never left her hometown, has an active social media profile?


      We spoke to four Millennials from radically different cultures on their feelings on everything from human advancement, to their fears about the future, their life goals, their social media use, their views on other cultures, relationships, their cell phones, and the role that technology plays their day to day lives. After 9 weeks of cumulative filming, more than 50 hours spent in airplanes, and two and a half years, "Sanskriti" was finished. The story was broken down, pieced back together, and re-written in the editing process, as we reduced more than 200 hours of footage into one hour-long film.


      The finished product is an exploration of life in the digital age though the eyes of the Millennial Generation - said to be "defined" by our relationship with technology. Through making "Sanskriti", I've been challenged several times over on my views on the role of technology in society, and on what it means to be "connected". My hope for the film is that it will do for viewers what it did for me - answer some questions, raise many more, and encourage re-examination of our interactions with ourselves, our friends, and our digital devices.


      Let IT dok! 2016

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