From Hubballi to New York, a story of dreams and hopes

From Hubballi to New York, a story of dreams and hopes

Akshata Honnavar, a young filmmaker from Karnataka, has shown promise with her works in the US

Akshata Honnavar was an established event manager when she decided to jump to cinema.

Everybody has a story to tell and Akshata Honnavar has a fascinating one. The youngster, who started as an event manager in Bengaluru, is now an award-winning filmmaker in New York. 

The transition happened two years ago. “I had produced several shows and was an integral part of the IIFA team. It had been four successful years with Wizcraft International Entertainment. However, I am never satisfied with just one goal,” Akshata, who hails from Hubballi, told Showtime over a freewheeling chat. 

Next, we know, she signed up for a course at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) and there has been no looking back for her since. She has made documentaries and short films that have won awards and acclaim. 

Akshata likes to go with the flow. Recounting what led her to the world of events, she says, “While I was doing my BCA degree at the Oxford College in Hubballi, I got a chance to manage a comedy show that featured famous stand-up comedian Gangavathi Pranesh. From finding the sponsors to managing the guests to conducting events without hassles, I did everything with the help of a strong team. That’s when I decided to be an event manager.”

Her next stop was Bengaluru, where she did an MBA in media and entertainment followed by a diploma course in digital marketing and event management. The shift to a big city like Bengaluru wasn’t easy. “As a girl from Hubballi, it was initially difficult to adjust. I build my confidence slowly by overcoming stage fear and insecurity,” she says.

There is no direct connection between event management and filmmaking in her ‘story’. But her celluloid dreams were inevitable as she grew up in a film-obsessed environment.

“My grandmother would give my father money to watch movies on his birthday. He loved films. Since there were no theatres in Hubballi, he would travel to Belagavi to watch films. He also made sure all the family members came together to watch films on weekends. It became a tradition,” she says.

And so, her parents — Archana, a homemaker, and father Sanjay, a businessman — were supportive of her big decision. “My mother has always told me I should do what I like. And when I cracked the NYFA exam, my father said it was a good chance for me to achieve what he couldn’t due to various reasons,” she says.

Since filmmaking is still seen as an unconventional career in India, and also a male bastion, her parents were a bit worried about this move. “I assured them that there is nothing their daughter can’t do,” she says.

She is at a crucial juncture in her career. Feature filmmaking is her biggest goal. “I want to make films that inspire people,” she says. “I want to come back to India and make films here,” she follows up. Her eyes are set on one thing. “I keep dreaming of winning a National Award,” Akshata signs off. 


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