Saturday, November 4, 2023


Filmmaker Krushan Naik

It is never a cakewalk, a bed of roses, or a red carpet treatment for anyone who uproots their established lives in their home country and moves to a foreign, unknown land with hopes and dreams to lay new foundations and create a better life. It is particularly arduous for creative artists in entertainment, brimming with talent, who migrate to Hollywood. As has been the case for filmmaker and editor Krushan Naik, who came from India to Los Angeles some years ago to study filmmaking and to augment his editing skills at Loyola Marymount University. Naik found out very quickly the harsh realities of living day-to-day in the U.S. - and specifically - living in Los Angeles. 

Not someone to be discouraged, Naik channeled his struggles and challenges into his documentary film, Resurgence, when he drew parallels between his own life and the story's subject. Winner of the 2023 Silver Telly Award in the Non-Broadcast General category, Resurgence has thus far won 14 awards and nominations collectively at film festivals in the U.S. and internationally. Oscar® and Emmy-winning documentarian Daniel Junge (Saving Face) is the executive producer. 

Amsterdam News Curtain Raiser had the opportunity to sit down with Naik who spoke about his passions - editing and directing, his creative journey as a storyteller, and unwavering faith in himself to keep forging ahead.

AMSTERDAM NEWS CURTAIN RAISER: Besides being an award-winning filmmaker, you are also a highly skilled and accomplished editor. Tell us about when your love for editing began.

Krushan Naik: Before coming to the United States from India, I was in advertising, which was also mostly editing-based. And before that [advertising], I was in animation for three years - I studied animation back in India. That was actually the first time when anything related to editing fell on my plate. And I immediately fell in love with it because it was something that you could just spend hours and hours by yourself in a room and just do stuff. So, that translated into when I came to the States for film school, and I specialized in editing. During that time, I was also fortunate enough to be a graduate teacher's assistant and teach a lot of post-production courses, from editing to visual effects to D.I.T. workshops. That fueled my interest in editing, and that's how it all started.

ANCRHow did you secure editing positions at the Ghetto Film School and Morningside High School in Inglewood?

KN: While I was at film school learning everything about filmmaking and editing, I was doing the technical side of editing and as a teacher's assistant, I was teaching software from Avid Media Composer to Davinci Resolve. At the same time, I was also editing a lot of films. So my creative editing style was getting built with the projects that I was editing, and the technical side came in when I was putting in the hours to learn myself and then teach the students. That is how later on, it translated into me getting the AVID user and AVID certified instructor certification, and I had the opportunity to continue teaching. My first teaching gig was at the Ghetto Film School, where I conducted the AVID certification examinations for the students. Currently, I am teaching at the Morningside High School which is a part of the Inglewood Unified School District, and contracted by Key Code Media Education. 

ANCR: Your editing style and approach connect very much to the emotional aspect and journey of the subject or character. Tell us more about how you approach each project when editing a piece.

KN: The emotional aspect of a story [during the process] of editing just comes through the way I think and the way I am. I like to call myself an emotional individual, so it reflects in my work, and I use a lot of different techniques to build it up. One editing technique that I really like is crosscutting, and you will see a lot of that in Resurgence as well. Crosscutting is also known as parallel editing because two or three stories are intertwining with each other, and we are cutting between them. The art is how you intertwine between them and how much information you give out to the audience at one particular point. That's basically the beauty of it. So in my editing, you will see that there are areas where I'm like, okay, this is where we need to stop and move on to another story and then come back to it. This is something that I enjoy doing very much. It makes the storyline interesting over just telling a story in simple chronology and talking about emotions. I also really enjoy playing with music. I want the picture and the music to kind of go hand-in-hand, but I feel music is the icing on the cake. It [music] is very important and helps elevate that particular emotion that I want my audience to feel.

ANCR: You recently won the prestigious Telly Award (Silver) for your short documentary film, Resurgence. Why did you choose this subject matter, and did the experience working on this film change things for you as a filmmaker?

Krushan Naik with the Silver Telly Award for 'Resurgence'

KN: I lived briefly with the subject of Resurgence. The story of my subject in the film and my life story after coming to America were kind of alike. I felt like we were parallel souls, with our different sets of challenges, but going through the same universal elements: isolation, helplessness, desperation, pain, anger, happiness, and so on. So I was on that same journey with him, and that's why I felt like there was a story over there. And ultimately, it's not about the sadness of the story, it is about how the subject rose from his ashes. And that's what I like to do. No matter how deep or scary your sufferings are, you have to get back. 

One thing that this project taught me was resilience, because of who I am and trying to make it in the film industry. As someone who's not from America and amidst the challenges that we have, we have to keep pushing ourselves and keep doing stuff. It [Resurgence] ultimately helped me prove to myself that I have what it takes to keep going. And yes, it won the Silver Telly Award, and so far, the film has grabbed 14 wins and nominations collectively, and it's been in more than 25 film festivals. So it's a project that I feel very proud of, and when I pause and look back, all I have to say is, oh, okay, Wow. I didn't know I could do that!

ANCR: What projects are you currently working on as an editor and filmmaker?

KN: I have several projects that I'm working on. Resurgence is one of them that is in film festivals right now. Other than that, I have Death and Taxes, which is a crime drama thriller. I have another film, which is a horror comedy that's called Unrest In Peace, which is also in film festivals. And then I have a project, Anuja, which I am editing with my director friend, and that's in the pipeline. Previously, I worked as an editor on Quarantween: The Musical along with Carin Greenberg who served as executive producer and writer on the project. I also worked on the 2021 Writers Guild of America’s (East and West) award show as an assistant editor.


All images courtesy of Krushan Naik.

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