Raj Chidambaram, a sophomore video/television and film major in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, has been selected for the 2016 Creative Minds in Cannes Program for aspiring filmmakers, which will be held during one of the world’s most prestigious international film festivals.
As part of the competitive program, which aims to find the next generation of emerging TV and film professionals, Chidambaram will be placed on a team that will create a short film during their time at the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival in France, May 11-22. The film will then be screened and judged by a panel of experts. He will also network with industry professionals and other student filmmakers.
He was chosen after applying to the program and submitting samples of his film and video work. “When I learned I was accepted, I was ecstatic and honored by the opportunity to go to the world’s biggest film festival and be in the center of the world’s biggest film market,” said Chidambaram, who hopes to one day be a feature film producer and possibly the head of a studio.
“While I’m in Cannes, I hope to network with as many filmmakers, both student and professional, as possible, see as many films at the festival as I can, and create a film that both tells a great story and exemplifies my talents and that of my teammates,” he said.
His love of film began as a high school student. As a senior at Randolph High School in Randolph, NJ, he helped organize a trip, which continues today, for students interested in film to attend the opening weekend of the Sundance Film Festival, held annually in Park City, Utah.
The experience there cemented his love of filmmaking and would later encourage him to apply for the Cannes program. “My time at Sundance was phenomenal,” Chidambaram says. “The atmosphere, the celebrities, the film premieres. I couldn’t stop smiling for the entire weekend and it made me even more excited to get into the film industry.”
Last year, his film, Just Not Today, won a Jury Award from Campus MovieFest, which oversees the world’s largest student film festival. As a campus finalist, Chidambaram and his team members traveled to Los Angeles where their film competed against those from other universities, and they were also on hand to see a film by Hofstra alumni, Concurrence, win Best Drama.
At Hofstra, Chidambaram is a member of Hofstra Media Productions, the University’s award-winning corporate and broadcast video production department. He is currently director of production and slated to be executive producer in the fall of film talk show, “The Screening Room,” on campus radio station WRHU 88.7 FM. “At the Herbert School, the film program is great and opportunities are endless,” he noted. “If what you want isn’t there, you can create it and people will be more than happy to help you.”
“When I went to the Sundance Film Festival in 2014, I jokingly said to some people that Cannes was my next step, and well, I wasn’t lying!”
Featured image: Raj Chidambaram with actress Anna Kendrick at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.