Filmmaker Nidheya Suresh is making a name across genres

Los Angeles –based filmmaker Nidheya Suresh like to tell stories across different genres and themes and tell them authentically. Having spent her life in various parts of India, Los Angeles and even Australia, Suresh says she aims to lend her voice to creating diverse and authentic stories.

One glance at Suresh’s filmography and what strikes is the range of genres: from LGBTQ issues, immigration, a thriller and a horror film. As an artist, I think it is my duty to bring to bring to light the plight faced by people across the world,” she told India Abroad. “This is why I feel the need to write nuanced dramas based on differing social issues.”

“Tabitha,” a short horror film is an official selection at both FilmCon Awards and Top Shorts Film Festival. At Top Shorts, “Tabitha” received Honorable Mention for Best Short, and was one of the top 15 screenplays. It was also nominated for best screenplay. It also won the Best Horror Film at FilmCon Awards.

Her film “Maa,” has made the rounds in both national and international circuits. It will be screened at the India World Film Festival, which takes place next month in Hyderabad, where Suresh grew up. “Maa” won the award for best LGBTQ film at the Oniros Film Awards, Best Indie Filmmaker award at the Festigious International Film Festival and an honorable jury mention at the 7th Indian Cine Film Festival in Mumbai.

Suresh says she very proud of “Maa,” which tells the story of a young gay woman whose carefully curated family is threatened, when her estranged mother visits for the first time in years. “It was my first solo directing job and I was immensely terrified of doing it,” she says. “But when we were done, I felt so incredibly proud of the cast and crew for the tremendous job they did.”

Suresh developed an early love for storytelling. Since she was six, she would spend hours penning tales across genres. That passion continued well into her adulthood, when she pursued a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism from M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women in Chennai. She says on her website that “this background in journalism gave her a personal and upfront experience of real people,” and enable her to “tell their stories in nuanced and complex ways.”

During this period she also discovered a love for filmmaking, sending her across the globe to Los Angeles' New York Film Academy to pursue an MFA in screenwriting. During the 16-month program, Suresh wrote and produced multiple projects.

At NYFA, Suresh says she fell in love with screenwriting. “I loved how simple yet complex it was, and how visual in nature it was,” she says. During the course she says she was exposed some other forms of filmmaking, like producing and directing.

After graduating from NYFA, Suresh made “Idée Fixe,” her first short film in 2017. She directed the film with her producing partner, Ahlan Williams. “Directing for the first time was a struggle, and we were new and didn’t know much, but by the end of it, both of us were transformed,” she says.

Currently, Suresh is in the post production stage of two films: "For Better or For Worse," a relationship drama surrounding three couples, and "Bandaid," a film about a young couple in America who face the battles of legal immigration.

Suresh says that what sets her apart is that she doesn’t like to box herself into a certain genre. “While as a viewer, I mostly drawn to thrillers and mysteries, I try to develop films that are varied in nature.” She says she constantly pushes herself to make films that she never thought she would’ve. “For example, ten years old me would’ve scoffed at the idea of ever working on a horror film,” she says.

In the future, she hopes to continue expressing herself through film and television, and be the showrunner of her own TV show one day.

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