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Ashish Dawar, BAFTA Newcomer

Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do for a living?
Hello and thank you for this chat. I am a cinematographer. I also work as a DI [digital intermediate] colorist between shoots and through the pandemic.

What is your relationship with BAFTA?
For new-to-LA media artists, we all know how hard it can be finding a way into the industry. BAFTA’s well-structured and curated Newcomers program is addressing this problem. I was happy to get in and it has been helpful meeting awesome fellow artists and getting introductions within the industry.

What motivated you to work with the Access for All programs?
I realized I wanted to make films for a living pretty late, well – after my first master’s degree, which was in finance. And when I did, I lacked good counsel, so I ended up taking a solo journey. Of course, the good Samaritans steer you along the way but it takes time. I have learnt a lot since then and when the opportunity arises, I do like to share whatever I think is useful to younger film enthusiasts, so that he or she can save time from re-inventing the wheel and can hopefully leapfrog while pursuing their careers in visual arts.

What have you found most fulfilling about your volunteer time with BAFTA?
It is amazing to see how much the next generation already knows about the craft while still going to high school! BAFTA’s education and outreach programs are excellent because they sensitize talented candidates early on with the ways of the industry and the craft. It is important for them to take an informed decision early on if they want to commit the time, effort, patience and perseverance the industry demands. It is more than fulfilling to see your time benefit another.

Can you share a highlight from your work with BAFTA's programs?
I am involved with BAFTA’s Filmmaking Collective program working with high school and college filmmakers, run by the amazing Sharyn Ross. Several scripts were evaluated and one was picked for production. The team is led by talented writer-director Sebastian Johnson. I am their cinematography mentor - helping them create the visual language of their story, solving on-location problems with ideas on blocking and lighting each scene to tell a better version of their story.