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Filmmaker Interview with Saniya Sajjan

Filmmaker Interview by Chris Olson

Filmmaker Saniya Sajjan
Filmmaker Saniya Sajjan

You were recently the Producer on the feature film, The Placebo. What can you tell us about the film and how you came to be involved?

The Placebo is a very simple plot that highlights a very complex story. It is based on an existential theme concerning the lives of two brothers. One is a struggling writer, and the other is a well-established medical professional. The film chronicles their relationship following the traumatic events of a divorce.

We acquired the script in 2019 and went on to shoot it in the later part of first quarter 2020 – just before the first lockdown. My involvement was in managing pre-production preparations, project managing the shoot and managing postproduction workflows.

Why did you want to be part of this production?

It was a good script with interesting if complex themes. Taking part in the realisation of the script and the processes of turning those topics into a final product was both challenging and informative.

What were your duties as a Producer?

As a producer, I worked on assembling a creative team who would be passionate about the script and project. Working with the director to bring on key creative partners such as director of photography, casting and many more head of departments.

My responsibility was to hire a line producer to put together a budget with myself and the schedule. Offer advice and sign off on all major creative decisions.

My main responsibility was to manage all logistics and business operations furthermore, supervise all aspects of physical production through the production staff and finally making sure a production is on schedule and under the stated budget.

What have been the challenges getting Placebo made and out to audiences?

The biggest challenge over the past year for us has been Covid, as it has for everyone. We were very fortunate in completing the shooting before the first lockdown kicked in properly, however even then there were constraints being imposed.

The difficulty in physical presence collaboration and switching to a virtual/zoom based postproduction environment did lead to frustration and delays.

What's next for your production company, Babs Production?

We have a feature film nearing completion in post-production at the moment; no release date as yet. A complete contrast to The Placebo it is a gory horror film. We are also in pre-production for another feature shooting this year concerning the media and contemporary relationships.

Which filmmaker(s) would you most like to work with and why?

One of the aims of Babs Productions is to foster and encourage new talent as well as established but under-utilised talent as far as possible. Whilst it would be a dream to work with the auteurs and celebrity names of the profession, the majority of the material we seek to produce is perhaps better suited to talented but lesser-known individuals.

Why do you make movies?

Making movies is fun, hard work, relaxed, pressurised, interesting and boring. It's rewarding and frustrating. It's real but not real. Its life.

What would you say if you were a dolphin?

“The fish needs more garlic”.



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