Flying High, Longlist - Branded

Raj's Story



“I immediately resonated with the script. Raj’s Story was both personal and powerful. It evoked that feeling of not fitting-in. Of being an outsider. And the self-discovery that comes with purpose, age and memory. A great deal of care and sensitivity had been invested in the script. Chris and Hugo conducted extensive research including lengthy zoom calls with Raj and other members of his family. I delved into the material, and also had conversations with Raj, and his parents, who were incredibly open to us. Once I commenced research, I discovered that Raj and I had many things in common: We were born in the same year, both grew up in West London and both had fathers that emigrated to London from Kenya. Like Raj, my background is also of Asian heritage, so the parts of the story in which Raj’s attempts to blend-in and subdue his ethnicity, culture and heritage are things that I too did. There was so much personal, lived-experience to draw from. Connecting who we are as adults, with our experiences as children, was one of our central themes, and I really wanted to explore that with “Raj’s Story”. It was also apparent, from the very beginning, that the standard 60 second template wouldn’t do “Raj’s Story” justice. So with the help of an incredibly giving cast and crew, we were able to stretch the budget and the shoot window to deliver a more expansive short film version that sheds light on the numerous key milestones of Raj’s life. Everything you see in the film actually happened. With Chris and Hugo, we established a timeline of key events and then mapped-out a three-act-structure that stretched from 1992 to the present day. Act One shows Raj as a 9-year-old. Act Two covered Raj’s late teens, and then the final act his journey into the Royal Navy, tied together with imagery of Lieutenant Raj, as himself, proudly wrapping his turban in preparation of a Royal Navy parade. With the help of casting director Emma Garrett we cast actors to play 9-year old Raj (touchingly portrayed by Daya Athlaw) and teenage Raj (Shobhit Piasa), as well as his family members, and then for the final act Raj and his parents played themselves.”

Sashinki is a champion for getting out there and making films. Learning, experimenting, ever-evolving. Born to an Iranian mother and an Indian father and London bred, Sashinski grew up watching classic films with his Persian grandmother it’s this film-make-it-yourself attitude that keeps Sashinski fresh, intuitive and instinctual. He strives to be completely present on set – watching what’s unfolding in the moment, giving the subject his undivided attention. This clarity and connection means his films are by nature profoundly heartfelt, emotionally charged and always led by narrative. His films are emotive and engaging, pulling the audience into the worlds of every individual character. And when he’s not hunting for the next story to tell, Sashinski is an active member of POCC, Sporas and Free The Work or out on a walk with Pablo, his long-haired chihuahua.