National Chronicle
Entertainment/Lifestyle National Chronicle Special

Home girl breaking boundaries in Hollywood as production designer

Bangalore: Over the past couple of years, a lot of light has been shed on diversity and gender equality in Hollywood. Although social media movements like #timeup have managed to question the current system all over the world including the Indian film industry it is still a man’s world. Amidst this gradual progress towards equality, it is very assuring to see a young Indian woman Harshita, challenging the stereotype and making her mark in Hollywood as a production designer.

Her thesis film ‘Moth’ that echoes on similar issues follows the story of Christine a working actress of Asian descent who is fading into obscurity. Day by day, she works tirelessly with the futile hope of her career getting a second wind. Like countless others in Los Angeles, she blindly follows her dream like a moth attracted to light, taking a toll on her family and herself.

Harshita Reddy.

‘Moth’ has been doing very well in the film festival circuit all over the world. They most recently won the Jury Award at 14th Chinese Youth Film Week along with Best Director and Best Actress at Chongqing Youth Film Festival and won for the Best Post-Modern Film at the 4th Calcutta International Cult Film Festival, Kolkata, India. ‘Moth’ has been selected over 25 film festivals all over the world. Oscar-qualifying – LA Shorts International Film Festival, Panorámica film festival in México and 16th Kinofilm – Manchester Int’l Short Film and Animation Festival, London to name a few.

Discussing about how she got into this project and what motivated her to choose it she says” If you think about it Moth is not necessarily a completely new idea, this story has been told many times. 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. As Chinese-Canadian himself his vision was fresh and seemed very relevant to the current atmosphere in Hollywood, it was only natural that I wanted to be a part of it.”Born and raised in Bengaluru, Harshita worked as an Architect prior to switching her career into production design. A year into her career as an Architect she decided to make the switch and trained under the Production designer Pekati Ranga Rao. Soon she realized she needed formal training in film and decided to apply for film school.

Three years since she has moved to LA, apart from getting her Master’s degree in production design from the American Film Institute Conservatory known to be one of the best film schools in the world. Harshita has worked on multiple award-winning short films including ‘Moth’, ‘ Unspeakable’ and ’Where the water runs’. Within a year of graduation, she has managed to work her way up in the art department on larger union shows to become a Set Designer. Some of the shows he has worked on include Emmy Award-winning show ‘RENT’ by 20th Century Fox and HBO’s Westworld. Talking about her most recent show “I just find working on the show Cherish the day, created by Ava DuVerney. Ava has tirelessly worked towards increasing awareness on diversity and gender parity. They were no way I was going to miss the opportunity to work with a visionary like her. Not to mention she is the first black woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director, and also the first black female director to have a film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. In fact according to Deadline magazine ‘Cherish the day has achieved full gender parity with a production crew of over 50% women, including 18 female department heads” said Harshita.

She is now a dual card member as an Asst. Art Director and Set Designer of the prestigious union the ‘Art Directors Guild’ in Hollywood, Harshita wishes to work with more people like Ava who are creating exciting yet meaningful content.

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