Dear Athens is a fresh, personal, gentle and lyrical short film by Raghavi Agarwal.
Ira, a traveller writes a letter narrating her experiences in the city of Athens. One day she meets another traveller, Ares, her alter ego.
Dear Athens reads as a playful conversation about civilisation and humanity, how history is portrayed in the present, how to discover the meaning of love, and eventually it becomes about acceptance of the circle of life.
We got a chance to speak to the director of the film who travelled to Greece on a small production job and ended up shooting this short.
1) Hello Raghavi! Where did you grow up? What attracted you to film-making?
Hello there! I was born and brought up in the city of Kanpur, situated in Uttar Pradesh.
I'm a person who is extremely motivated by visual storytelling. I truly believe visuals have the power to create magic and for me my camera is my magic wand. Films came to me at a low in my life & the fact that watching films made me feel so much got me attracted to it.
2)Could you tell us more about how you learnt film direction - either on your own, or if you went to film school how did the experience benefit you.
The journey of me exploring my creative instincts dates back to as long as I can probably remember. Around my last year at Design school I decided to tell my personal narrative of inner transformation through visual storytelling and ended up making a poetic documentary titled Dear Me wherein a melange of women narrate tales of self germinated discoveries seeming to have an honest conversation with the viewer. (Writing helped me meet the ever transforming and growing me. In a moment of courage I sent out my writings to a few, close and far away people. Following which I received an overwhelming response to those emails. No sooner did they become my muse and I started analyzing their psyche and seeing parts of me in their stories. I requested them to come down to my college studio and have a conversation with me, where I recorded their smiles, their tears, confessions about their deepest fears, their most precious victories & their smallest gestures which were beyond words to express.) Dear Me was born out of those hour long conversations and my ever wandering camera on my back. Travel has been a big big window for me to get closer to films and the art and craft of direction and cinematography.
How was your experience of making this film. Getting the cast, pitching the idea. What were the key challenges?
Nothing short of a filmmaker’s/artist’s fairytale. I happened to travel to Greece to work with a small production company and had absolutely no idea that I’d end up shooting my first shot fiction film.
What 3 advice will you give to aspiring filmmakers in this industry?
Believe in the story that you want to tell in all it’s honesty and purity.
Root for your team and the ones surrounding you.
Watch, read and talk about films that really move you.
Dear Athens is available for a limited time only on ShortFilmWindow