Filmmaker Shaan Memon inspired by personal experiences in new film ‘Fitting In’

Born in Ahmedabad city in Gujarat state in India, Shaan Memon found that filmmaking was the best way to express his true self. He is a sensitive and emotional person and loves to experience life at its highest. He is always reading a book and travels as much as possible; both are ways of undergoing adventure. He explores life and uses his experiences to learn and study humanity around the world. He hears stories from every culture, and shares what he has gone through with others through film.

“I’m a seeker and research things thoroughly, so until now I’ve never felt that I can teach something to the world yet as I’m a learner. I don’t even know when and how I’ll get all the answers about life, universe and so on, but one thing I love to do is telling stories. I love to exchange experiences and through them learn more and the best way to convey stories is this extraordinary, contemporary medium of film, which combines both audio and visual senses. Through that I convey the things as near as possible to the way I envision them. It can move hearts and change lives. I love everything about filmmaking,” he said.

As a celebrated writer, director, and editor, Shaan’s passion for the medium of film knows no bounds. By being proficient in so many areas of filmmaking, he creates an understanding for the craft that is outstanding. His work on projects such as the Dickens Fair commercials, the Purpose Driven Study for Dharoi Canal Command Area documentary, and his films Bullied and The Unreal, Shaan’s versatility and passion are evident. With the new fictional drama Fitting In, Shaan’s commitment to storytelling is again prevalent in this captivating film.

Fitting In is about an idealistic Indian pre-med student in America who is sabotaged by a jealous colleague, forcing him to question his dreams. Shaan sees himself in his lead character. He is a very focused and determined person who works hard to achieve his goal, and an Indian studying in the United States. By writing a film that shows a connection between India and the USA, Shaan aimed to explain the thought process and experiences of a person who deals with a huge cultural jump.

If we look at the current scenario, there are a lot of political and cultural issues happening all around the world due to globalization. No country can survive on its own. Everybody needs each other. I think this is a very good thing. I was always against any borders and I wish peace and love prevailed in the world. Because globalization is still a new concept, many countries and religions are struggling to handle it. Eventually they all will find a way I hope, but it inspired me to make a film on this subject that could relate to a huge number of people,” said Shaan.

Not only did Shaan write Fitting In, he also was the Producer, Director, and Editor. He managed and supervised all aspects of the film from financing, pre-production, production to post production. He used his experience of theatre acting, directing, writing, producing, editing, sound mixing, managing cast and crew and much more to get the best output possible.

Shaan began the process with storyboarding, and then gathered the team of over twenty people on the set each day including Assistant Directors, Line Producer, Production Assistants, Production Designers, Set Decorators, Sound Recordists, Cinematographer, Gaffer, Electricians and Photographers. With each and every key position, he discussed and shared his creative inputs, such as location references, color and look of the film, lens selection, set and production design, and costume design, using his thorough understanding of the characters to fully create their world.

He then moved onto casting, knowing that without the right actors, the film would not succeed. However, due to an unexpected accident during filming, the lead actor broke his arm and arrived on set with a large bandage. Shaan did not let this interfere with his vision and added an injury into the script.

For post-production, Shaan edited the entire film seven times before coming to the final cut. He also did the sound mixing and color grading, showcasing his expansive skillset. He wanted vibrant but mellow colors in the film to show the struggle and depression of the lead actor. He also found two musicians to create the score for the film, one from India and one from America; he wanted to display the music of both countries to bring an essence of the cultures to the film in a unique way.

“Working on this project was, like all other projects, great, but this was something special. We went through some ups and downs, but in the end, we made something great. It was a learning experience, but that is the only way to improve yourself,” said Shaan.

Shaan is a celebrated filmmaker, but he remains humble. Fitting In is just one example of the complete commitment he has to every single project he embarks on. He is a leader on set, and constantly impresses all he works with.

“I have worked closely with Shaan on film projects as well as recommending him for other jobs. He has exceeded expectations,” said Diane Baker.

Fitting In has just premiered, and already was an Official Selection at the Raw Science Film Festival, Santa Barbara. It is expected to make its way to many more prestigious international film festivals and generate award interest. Shaan finds even the first nomination an honor.

“It is a great feeling and very satisfying I must say, because I went through a lot of struggles and also my amazing team helped me a lot. We all are very happy and also positive about the future success of the movie as this is just the first nomination. We made this with a lot of love and hard work,” he concluded.

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