By Destiny Diggs
One of the many ambitious students at LIU Post has recently mastered the art of storytelling as she is soon to release the film, Homecoming. Brittany Ramjattan, 20-year-old senior and honor’s film student has committed one year of herself in creating a “honest film” entitled, Homecoming. “I wanted to make sure it wasn’t overly dramatic, but a story told in a nuanced way with realistic humor,” Ramjattan said. The film is about a cultural struggle. An Indian-American boy, Dave, going to college to become a photographer and his mother, who he ran away from when she didn’t support his dreams. After needing some of his old photographs for a gallery, he breaks into his old apartment, where he’s forced to face the baggage he ran away from.
The inspiration behind the film is immigration and immigrant psychology. “I was motivated to tell a story that captured the essence of the immigrant experience, but that everyone could relate to at the same time,” Ramjattan said. Immigrant matters are what Ramjattan holds close to her heart. She uses Homecoming as a vehicle to show the day in the life of an immigrant adjusting to the American culture while simultaneously wrestling with day to day situations. She also believes it is important for girst-generation immigrants to have an outlet to relate to, pushing Ramjattan to not only start the film but finish the film.
Ramjattan began working on Homecoming about one year ago and started to refine the script in the fall of 2016 with LIU Post Professor, Lisa Robinson. “She helped me find and carve out my story, and she was especially helpful in helping find bigger and better conflicts for my characters to deal with,” Ramjattan said. In the spring semester of 2017 she also worked diligently with Susan Zeig, the head of the film department, to finish the script and produce the film. “It’s been quite a process, I look forward to seeing the final product,” Zeig said. In post production, Ramjattan used her peers as a resource to finalize the film. “It took a lot of work to balance the necessary elements of making the plot without distorting the message.” Keeping the message in its raw state did not become easier in the editing process. “It’s a lot to balance: staying true to the message, entertaining an audience, and not misdirecting the viewers,” Bernarr Merriett, senior and film major said.
Film has not always been Ramjattan’s first love, in fact she initially thought her career would be scientifically influenced and that she would work in medicine. It is not until her freshman year of high school when film caught her interest. “I joined a comic club and one of our assignments was to write a script for a contest. It was suppose to be a graphic novel script, but I chose to write a screenplay and won third place in the region for the contest,” Ramjattan said. It is at this moment when she fell in love with film and she has been “determined” to be a great influencer in the film and television industry ever since.
After graduation, Ramjattan plans to work in television development and to be a script writer. In the mean time, she works at a production company and interns at a television production house doing research and both pre-production and post-production. “We have a show we’re working on for Travel Channel, and some of my research has been incorporated in the pilot,” Ramjattan said. Ramjattan has also had the opportunity to work as production assistant on formal television sets such as WeTV with actors Jack Thriller and Tahari Jose.
Ramjattan encourages her fellow seniors to do their best while working on a senior thesis and to remember that “not everything will go smoothly” and there will be challenges. She explained that the standard that is often created in one’s mind may not be perfectly executed and that’s “one-hundred percent natural,” she said.
Her advice to students pursuing film is, “It doesn’t matter how much experience you think you have or if you’re worried about not being creative enough, everyone learns something from working on a film,” Ramjattan said. Film includes every facet of artistery such as sound, imagery, and story-telling. “You can make a career out of any aspect of film and there is something for everyone. There really isn’t another major like it,” Ramjattan said.
While working on Homecoming, Brittany Ramjattan has learned the importance of not only going through life but rather growing through life. She values the stage that she is currently in and realizes that she is still in the ‘early life’ section of her Wikipedia page. Ramjattan does not put too much pressure on herself because she knows just like in her film, life is also the art of storytelling.
After submitting her thesis to New York based, south-east asian and comedy film festivals Homecoming, will be available on Vimeo and YouTube next January.