Hank & Asha
PROJECT Hank And Asha
DESCRIPTION feature film (73:00)
IN ASSOCIATION WITH Paperchain Productions
DIRECTED BY James E. Duff
PRODUCTION DESIGN BY Mimi Violette (Prague), Alex Chrysikos (New York)
SET PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ben Sasson (Prague)
SHOOTING LOCATION Prague, Czech Republic and New York, New York, USA
SYNOPSIS What do you do if your first real love is half a world away? In this charming romantic comedy, an Indian woman studying in Prague and a lonely New Yorker begin an unconventional video correspondence — two strangers searching for human connection in a hyper-connected world. Hank and Asha is a hopeful story about identity, longing, and the irresistible appeal of entertaining life's what-ifs.
SCREENINGS AND AWARDS
Slamdance Film Festival, Park City, Utah, USA; 2013 - World Premiere
Audience Award, Best Narrative Feature
Brooklyn Film Festival, Brooklyn, New York, USA; 2013
Woods Hole Film Festival, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA; 2013
Slamdance On The Road, IFC Center, New York City; 2013 - Special Screening
Rhode Island International Film Festival, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Jury Award, Best Narrative Feature, First Prize
Portland Film Festival, Portland, Oregon, USA; 2013
Jury Award, Best Narrative Feature
Hell's Half Mile Film Music Festival, Bay City, Michigan, USA; 2013
Opening Night Selection; Audience Award, Best Narrative Feature
BronzeLens Film Festival, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; 2013
Rising Superstar Award, Mahira Kakkar
Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana, USA; 2013
Edmonton International Film Festival, Canada; 2013
Bend Film Festival, Bend, Oregon, USA; 2013
Audience Award, Best Narrative Feature
Northhampton Film Festival, Northhampton, Massachusetts, USA; 2013
Heartland Film Festival, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; 2013
Savannah Film Festival, Savannah, Georgia, USA; 2013
HBO Films Best Producer Award
Indie Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee, USA; 2013
54th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Greece
Naples International Film Festival, Naples, Florida, USA; 2013
Opening Night Selection
Virginia Film Festival, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; 2013
Cucalorus Festival of Independent Film, Wilmington, South Carolina, USA; 2013
Napa Valley Film Festival, Napa Valley, California, USA; 2013
Jury Award, Best Narrative Feature; Audience Award, Best Actor; Audience Award, Best Actress
Anchorage International Film Festival, Anchorage, Alaska, USA; 2013
Bahamas International Film Festival, Nassau, Bahamas; 2013
San Joaquim International Film Festival, Stockton, California, USA; 2014
Glasgow International Film Festival, Glasgow, Scotland; 2014
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION DESIGN (Prague)
The warmer color hues and palette was based on the Indian character’s personality traits, cultural undertones and to dovetail with the amount of lighting used for the night shoots... a hand-sketch diagram of Asha's bedroom...
A homemade card from Asha, the Indian character’s love interest” (Hank) was designed in collaboration with Alex Chrysikos, the Production Designer for the New York location. Hank was to “exhibit his flair for sketching” through this card, while it held an E-ticket flight printout and a hand-written invitation to “meet in Paris”. Since Alex was portraying Hank's talent of sketching, email attachments of what was potentially to-be the card was sent to Prague. These sketches were refined in Prague to a looser, more rustic style and intuitive bi-fold format, linking the three cities: New York, Paris and Prague. I created the hand-written note on the same cold-pressed, watercolor paper painted in watercolor, over-drawn in pen ink, while the E-ticket was designed digitally and printed.
A custom cardboard box was transformed into a “care-package” from Asha's mother. Inside it Asha stored stacks of “her mother’s letters”, written in a form of Hindu. Each letter supplied their own envelope, “from India”, also exhibiting Indian postal stamps and international customs prints. The care package further contained blank-envelopes for Asha to write home, plus some Indian postcards from loved-ones and authentic cooking spices.
Loafing around Prague in search of fixer-uppers “in the character’s mind-frame” gave an honest and original approach to the set’s atmosphere. Coming across this type of shadow box, which was caked in bird droppings, would soon meet a thorough sanding, cleaning and a paint job, becoming a handy bed-side bookcase. When lit with an ambient, the whimsical piece also gave depth to the space in the room while complimenting colorful surroundings.
Two of three found junk-doors from a trashed armoire converted into a vertical bulletin. With a couple easel legs, another became her desktop with the third settling upon the desk’s ‘backsplash’—an additional bulletin board for the character’s pinned-up mementos.
Delving within the quirkiness of the character, window treatments became a simple draping of colorful paper cutouts, strung with clipped photographs and postcards. Beads and jewelry sit upon an antique Czech tea coaster.
The bedding was hand-sewn to authenticate the character’s craftiness and traditional values. Textile prints were chosen to coincide with the “student’s limited resources” while maintaining Indian-esque qualities and an admiration for French aesthetic. This all meant transforming predominant props and furnishing into a hunting-and-gather, trash-to-treasure, stylized and quirky backdrop.