Expired March 20, 2023 6:59 AM
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This program has 8 films. Toggle between film descriptions by clicking on the buttons at the top right.

When her estranged mother deteriorates to dementia, Aisha must reluctantly care for her while searching for closure with their damaged past - one that only she now remembers. Despite her resentment, Aisha has to now become the parental figure to her mother that she wanted her to be long ago. A character study of a mother and daughter relationship, the film tackles themes of mental illness, family trauma, and the immigrant experience. Can the buried distance between these two be bridged with a new beginning or lost to fading memory?

Director - Anmol Bajpai

With my first major project after graduating USC, I set out to create a short film that would deeply resonate with my cultural identity and life experiences. Instead of shooting just another film, I aimed to craft something that would hold meaning for me as a person, not just an artist. Something that would hopefully hold that meaning for many others as well.

Speak to Me originated as a deeply intimate tale that pulled from my personal journey as an Indian American immigrant as well as my complicated family history. For a long time, I had been tinkering with the concept of a parent-child character study that could both open and heal some old wounds. Not just my wounds, but those of other loved ones.

In India, family is a heavy and even overbearing concept. Thus, it carries a weight and a burden, for better or worse. As an Indian American immigrant, I always felt like an oddity in my own family, lost and torn between cultural lines. However, that struggle helped form the person I am today. Through the film, I wanted to authentically showcase both the struggle and beauty of an immigrant family. Both the love and the resentment that can ebb and flow at times. The boundary between what it means to be an “Indian American” and what it means to be an “Indian.” Really, the film is about a codependent conflict between a daughter and mother.

In my family, dementia and mental illness have a long history in dividing people apart. My grandmother has had dementia for several years and it’s taken its toll on her and those around her. It traumatically affected my mother when my grandmother could no longer remember her. This personal life experience served as the initial inspiration for the core dynamic in the story. In the film, I wanted to explore the love that can exist even with the loss of one’s memory. I wanted to inspect how caregiving in parent-child relationships reverse at a certain point – when children become the parental figures and the parents become the helpless. Speak to Me is a character piece of a mother and a daughter, torn apart by grief, resentment, and mental illness. Though the story is completely original and fictional, it reflects my own immigrant experiences, family history, and cultural heritage.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    15 minutes
  • Language
    English, Hindi
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Anmol Bajpai
  • Screenwriter
    Anmol Bajpai
  • Producer
    Lana Nguyen
  • Cast
    Anya Banerjee, Vee Kumari, Aishveryaa Nidhi, Vincent Stalba
  • Cinematographer
    Daphne Daniels
  • Editor
    Anmol Bajpai
  • Production Design
    Adeline Wang, Jade Crenian
  • Composer
    Darren Huang
  • Sound Design
    Alexis Tran