Rishi is the driving force behind the new film, “For Here or To Go?” Which opened yesterday. He’s an immigrant technologist who produced his first feature film, For Here or To Go which tells the story of the struggles skilled immigrants face. I’ve known him for years, so when his movie came out he answered some questions about filmmaking I had for him.
The film has been been called a welcome counterpart to HBO’s Silicon Valley, and both entertains and educates on a part of a hot button topic we often don’t consider. The story has its roots in reality, and could be a way to communicate our flawed economic policies. It may even be having some impact, as it screen before congress last year
“For Here or To Go?” follows a young immigrant looking to do a startup in silicon valley, and the trials and tribulations he faces along the way. The film has been covered in variety, The SF Chronicle, the USA Today, Breitbart “News” (Scoff) and even screened before congress.You can find out more about For Here or To Go? on their website or Fandango. The film itself is well worth the price of admisssion, but this interview is less about the movie and more about the process of making it.Rishi used some unorthodox tactics to create a hybrid of the processes driving innovation in Silicon Valley and the standard filmmaking processes. Rishi, the film’s writer and producer, is a skilled immigrant from India, and the film gives us a look into his experiences.I talked with Rishi about the film just before it’s limited theatrical release on Friday. Here’s that conversation
B: How has being an immigrant affected your life?
R: We met the congressman and his office at an advocacy event about the immigration issues that are the core premise of this film. That’s how the screening took place. Essentially, a bill [was] re-introduced in the house that aims to fixes the issue. Under current law people get hired based on skill and education but get green cards based on country of birth. So there are long wait times for people from India and China. India especially and these wait times can be as long as 70 years! That’s according to some of the latest research.
B: What do you think of the current administration’s immigration policies?
R: This film to me is a solution to a problem. That’s how I see it. The problem is that there is no authentic mass media representation of Indians in America.
R: Team, funding and distribution. Like any other entrepreneurial effort.
B: What advice would you give other immigrants working in film or technology?
R: Keep the passion and the curiosity. Backgrounds, qualifications and training don’t entirely determine what you can accomplish.