Name: Adithya Addageethala | Occupation: Filmmaker | Company: Independent | Place: Canada
(May 19, 2023) Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could strike the right balance between work and travel? It’s exactly what Adithya Addageethala does. An independent filmmaker in Canada, this 36-year-old chooses to work on a project for a few months before he either moves on to the next or travels the world to meet new people and work on his ideas.
Born and raised in Toronto to parents who were originally from Bengaluru, Adithya was expected to pursue a career either in engineering or medicine. “But I had a creative spirit so I chose to study Arts in high school before I went on to earn a degree in Urban Design from the University of Waterloo,” he tells Global Indian. However, by the time he finished university, Adithya found himself at a crossroads. “I was wondering if I should continue in the field or switch to something more creative.” That’s when he decided to undertake a few creative writing courses. “And finally I switched gears to filmmaking. It’s been 13 years now,” he smiles.
Striking a creative path
When he first started out, Adithya would work on music videos, commercials and corporate videos. He then gradually began transitioning to feature films. “I joined the Directors Guild of Canada in 2018 and now am working as an assistant director,” says Adithya, “Being part of the guild makes me eligible to work on anything being made in Ontario. I work almost like a freelancer; I work on a show for anywhere between three to six months and then move onto the next project or take time off to write and travel. I usually gravitate towards work that I’d like to do in the future.”
So far, Adithya has worked on a variety of projects: Seasons 1 to 3 of Lock & Key, Seasons 2 & 3 of Umbrella Academy, Luckiest Girl Alive starring Mila Kunis, Wedding Season, and Dream Scenario to name a few. Most of these projects are for Netflix. “Netflix recently opened its new headquarters in Toronto; so there are a lot of shows and films now being shot here,” he says.
The early days of diversity in film
However, it wasn’t always this easy to land projects. When Adithya first started out in filmmaking in Canada, it was pretty tough to make inroads. “There was a lot of gatekeeping in Toronto with a lot of the older folk preferring to maintain the industry more like a closed network,” he says, adding, “It’s only of late that Toronto has become a big avenue for filmmaking and has opened its doors to the younger talent. There are more opportunities now.” In fact, Adithya had been considering relocating to Los Angeles, but with 90% of the projects being shot in Toronto now, it is the place to be.
What is paramount though when picking projects, says the filmmaker, is to identify one’s area of interest and goal. “A lot of youngsters try to jump onto any project they can get into. But you need to identify your goals. If you’re smart about it, you can take a break between projects and come back. It’s what I do,” he says.
Making travel plans
During his time off, Adithya likes to write, edit and create art work when he isn’t travelling. “Travel frees up my mind. I am a big people watcher; I love exploring new environments and communities. I love to see how communities move together.” So far he has done a hockey tour of Canada where he travelled the length and breadth of the country covering 27 cities. “I’ve also been to France, Ireland, and Hawaii. I want to go to Finalnd and Switzerland next. This year though I’ll be going to Japan. I love to experience the quality of life in these places and gel with the locals apart from doing touristy things.”
While a typical day in the life of a filmmaker can be unpredictable with long shooting hours, Adithya tries to take enough breaks on set during the day. “I usually begin by going through the scenes for the day and work with the cast and background performers,” he says. In terms of diversity in the world of filmmaking, there’s still a long way to go, he admits. “When I started out, I was probably the only Indian on set. Today, it’s starting to get better bit by bit. Organisations are now promoting people of colour working on film and show crew. I guess it also has to do with the amount of work that is now coming through; there are more avenues now,” he says, “However, representation wise it could still get better. I still feel that the representation of Indian people in films and television shows can still be very singular with a lot of stereotypes coming through. If I get the opportunity to do so, I would love to join a director’s lab and tell great stories of Indians as well.”
Follow your interest and gut. Don’t just trod the beaten path when choosing a career.
Identify your goals early on so you can choose your projects accordingly.
Celebrate your roots and try to ensure adequate representation for your country.
Take breaks when you can. It can help you reset and approach work better.
Aditya, Congratulations!!! It is excellent way of presenting your journey. I am so proud to know you. Continue the good work and I am positive you will reach great heights. God bless