Meet Avi Patel – a young inspiring film-maker and student at Varna University of Management. He’s been involved in directing and film-making since very young age and worked with some of Bollywood’s biggest stars and directors on blockbusters, which premiered all over the world.
Despite his young age, he has already won numerous awards – such as International Award (Film Production House) for his film Production Company and Youngest Director Award in 2017.
The young talent already successfully juggles between photography, cinematography, VFX editing and graphic design but never stops perusing his future goals, part of which – he claims – will become reality through his studies for the Master of Business Administration program at VUM. He shared with us why he came to Bulgaria and why he chose our university…
- Hello, Avi! Tell us how your path to an Film-making career began? Is it hard to get in Bollywood?
I started my journey during the vacation of class 10. Then I learned all kinds of editing software and videography and I stepped into the directing department with some shortfilms. A few months later I was able to manage the VFX as well as the direction. I had participated in shortfilm direction competition as well as graphic competition and the shocking thing was that I was the youngest student of this competition and all my contestants were 5-7 years older than me. I won the Best Director award as the first winner of the state competition as well as the first runner up in Graphics Designer. Then I entered in TV commercials because I had a good profile at such young age at that time. So I started working as a helper boy like spot boy in shooting and gained a lot of experience in big TVC film setup. Then steps into production head, art asst. Director, Art Director, creative director, Asst. director then Main Director as well. I have been in every field of film production from spot boy to director.
And at the time I was the youngest filmmaker in my state, which has a population of 64.8 million and it is very difficult to keep your achievements on in such competitive world. After few months I got a chance to work with Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, Emraan Hashmi, Annu Kapoor, Siddhant Kapoor, Raghubir Yadav and many others as Art Assistant Director in a Bollywood film and this is my wonderful experience in Bollywood and one of my hugest achievements.
- What brought you to Bulgaria? What do you think about Varna as a city, do you like life here?
Bulgaria is quite a peaceful place; there’s not too much disruption to daily life, the weather is good and the locals are welcoming and friendly. Generally speaking, a great place to live. There’s a great climate, there’s rich history and some lovely natural landscapes.
Varna is one of the best places I have visited in Europe. It’s perfect for beach life, historical places, large parks, a zoo, bars, cafes, a variety of restaurants, etc. I saw many tourists from different countries here enjoying the quiet and serene places.
- Why did you choose Varna University of Management? What chances and career paths will it give you in the future in your opinion?
As a leading business school in Eastern Europe, Varna University of Management gained the trust of Cardiff Metropolitan University to award British Degrees. At Varna University of Management students can have the exceptional privilege to get degrees without the usual requirement for students to spend a year in the United Kingdom. At VUM students follow the synchronised curriculum with Cardiff Metropolitan University and have to meet same high standards in learning and examination. The course at VUM aims to encourage independent and creative propective leaders with its pragmatic focus and by providing the needed understanding of all the major functions of business.
This degree will help me to open my film production house in future, so the production management would be the main key sight for the same. It will help me step up my future career teaching me how to handle any business efficiently with all necessary skills and knowledge. I want to get an international exposure to do Masters in Business Administration.
- Tell us what’s your most interesting or challenging experience on the set?
If I am talking about my challenging experience then when I was in Slovakia for 20 days for a Bollywood film I got new experience with the European technical team and it was my first shoot in snow and the temperature at that time was -15.
And it was a very challenging time for me because in -15 degrees I had no experience about the weather and I was in the direction team and the climate suddenly changed and we were above the clouds. We faced many foggy weather. And finally we completed it very successfully and we came back to India but after a month pathetic pandemic started and at that time we could not release that film in theatres. Even I got 2 other films before Covid pandemic started we were with preparation and we were going to start a new film but the government issued new guidelines and we couldn’t shoot so we had to wait for directions. At that time I was engaged in social work to help people in Corona, then I formed a group named #WeCareGujarat. But in time of pandemic there was curfew all over India but we did a lot in social media and it helped citizens a lot, so government, public and media were very happy and impressed with our work. Then finally after a few months the government announced new guidelines. The theaters were opened and we finally released our film on 27th August 2021.
- Have you been interested in Filmmaking since you were a child? Since when have you been pursuing your dream?
India is a hub of movie market known as Bollywood, almost every kid grew up watching Bollywood movies.
So did I, I started inclining towards film making & creative field n my early teenage but challenge made me filmmaker. I learned many different things in Film making pre production to post production with practical experience. Then I decided to become a director and I got the award of youngest director in state level Competition. And now my dream is to work in the direction department in Hollywood.
- What is the most valuable prize you have won, for you personally?
If I talk about the best award, I have won the best award for myself – the love of the local people, the respect from the government and the main thing is the support of my parents. Because I can’t do anything without my parents’ support. They supported me in pursuing my dreams and my talent. I have seen so some people in India, they have good talent but their parents don’t allow and don’t give support so they can’t do it. Many actors in this whole film industry are addicted to drugs and alcohol and spoil their lives. But my parents trusted me and I haven’t broken it yet. So the best reward for me is the love and trust given by parents, public and the government.