Shreya Jha is an upcoming writer and director currently based in Los Angeles, California. She has dabbled in the art of filmmaking since the tender age of fourteen, when she wrote and directed short psychological thrillers. Since then, Shreya’s filmography has evolved, making her tap into various genres such as drama (The Sun Rises in the West, 2020), period drama (Free at Last, 2019), and even fantasy. Even though her filmography is spread across a wide range of genres, the crux of her stories usually revolves around characters who have to choose between their ambitions and their families. Shreya personally believes in cinema which shows experiences grounded in reality and characters who are as human as possible. “Because, in the end, cinema is just a mirror to our reality,” says Shreya.
Born and brought up in Ahmedabad, Shreya’s worldview has shaped her modern views on Indian culture. Her latest film, The Sun Rises in the West, questions some of those views. The film won its first award at the Indie Short Fest in Los Angeles, California, for the Best Student Short. It was shot last year in Ahmedabad, and stars Ankit Gor and Nishma Soni. The film follows the story of a 15-year-old girl called Komal who works as a maid in a rich household. She is a brilliant student who is offered a chance to study in the USA, but circumstances limit her from chasing her dreams. The film tackles the question of why an individual would want to leave their home in order to pursue their passion elsewhere? Why is it that an individual would go to extreme lengths to flee, even if it has implications? Along with this, the film gives an insight into how people of every stature are dreamy-eyed about the United States.
In a recent interview with ‘India News’, Shreya discussed more about the production of the film and how the experience was different when filming back in LA. She further discussed how producer Sooraj Vaidya had been present in India two months before the shoot to make sure everything was in place for when she came in to film. “The experience was thrilling. I was filming in my home city and in places where I’ve grown up, telling a story that was so close to my heart. The production overall felt refreshing and, to a certain extent, I got to see my city through a new lens, quite literally.”
The Sun Rises in the West is set to have a red-carpet premiere at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California with strict Covid-19 protocols underway.