Samskara (Rite of Passage)

After the sudden death of their father, two estranged Indian-American siblings must reconcile their trauma as they throw him an impromptu Hindu funeral.

  • Venk Potula
    Director
    Woke, Veep, Wild N' Out
  • Venk Potula
    Writer
    Woke, Veep, Wild N' Out
  • Skylar Schock
    Producer
  • Venk Potula
    Producer
  • Jamie Hill
    Co-Producer
  • Aarti Mann
    Key Cast
    "Priya"
    Big Bang Theory (Priya Koothrappali), Danny Collins, Heroes
  • Shawn Singh
    Key Cast
    "Akhil"
    Jane the Virgin
  • Rajiv Satyal
    Key Cast
    "Vijay"
    Desi Comedy Fest (Russel Peters), Laugh Factory, Aasif Mandvi's All Star Deportation Jamboree
  • Franck Tabouring
    Cinematographer
    The Two of Us
  • Shamik Ganguly
    Composer
  • Sohil Vaidya
    Colorist
    Difficult People, Geeta
  • Venk Potula
    Editor
  • Kunal Rajan
    Sound Design
    Vishwaroop 2, Ghajini, Petta
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Genres:
    Drama, Comedy
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    April 26, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, Gujarati
  • Shooting Format:
    RED
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Venk Potula

Venk Potula is a first generation Indian American filmmaker based out of Los Angeles, CA. He is a graduate of UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television where he studied Theater and English. While in school, Venk studied filmmaking with professors James Franco, Peter Weller and Charles Haid. After graduating, Venk started a production company where he edits and directs digital branded content for various brands including Bai, Vice Golf, Fnatic, and Warner Sisters. Venk recently shadowed Peter Weller as he directed episodes of TNT's The Last Ship. He is continuing his screenwriting education and practice at UCLA's Writing for Television Professional Program.

He recently directed and starred in "Woke," an indie short film which has played in over 20 film festivals across the US including Urbanworld Film Festival and CAAM Film Festival. Woke was nominated for the Grand Jury Award for Best Short film at the 13th Disorient Asian American Film Festival and won for Best Short Narrative at the Sacramento Asian Pacific American Film Festival. The film was also nominated for Best Actor and Best Screenwriter at the 2018 Asians On Film, Festival of Shorts and won for Best Actor at the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival. Woke is currently available exclusively with SEED & SPARK’s distribution arm.

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Director Statement

Dear Reader:

When my grandfather passed away my father knew how to give him a proper Hindu funeral. When one of my closest friend's father passed away I was struck not only with the sadness of his passing but also left with the thought of, "How would I give my father the Hindu funeral he would have wanted?" Being Indian-American I wouldn't know how to properly do this. What are the right rituals? What are the right customs and prayers? I wouldn't have a clue. I might have a sense of what they look like, but I don't really know them. I found that the answer to these questions create even more questions and that ultimately what matters is who you can share those experiences with. This is what Priya and Akhil come to learn throughout the course of this film: in dark times hold your family close. Sometimes, they're all you've got.

We hope you enjoy Samskara.

Thank you,
Venk