Diya Guha's tryst with San Fran panhandler finds life on screen
November 16, 2015
It wasn't until she met a nondescript panhandler (‘panhandler’ is an American word for a beggar) on the streets of San Francisco that Diya Guha found her calling. And for the last two-and-a-half years, she has been working as a producer on a feature-length documentary revolving around a gifted guitarist who lost everything and came to live off the streets.
As Moses, the eponymous docu-feature, gears up for release in 2016, Diya can see her efforts materialising. Born and brought up in Kolkata, Diya left for San Francisco to pursue a master's in advertising.
One evening, she came across a panhandler outside a students' hangout and started a conversation with him about music and life in general. The conversation stayed with her till, a couple of weeks later, a serendipitous meeting with Fran Guijarro made her decide to do something about him. Fran Guijarro was one of her teachers in advertising. One day, he walked in and presented a story: a story about a homeless man he had been documenting for seven years. Diya realised it was the same panhandler she had come across and learnt that his name was Moses.
The days of working as a producer on the feature-length documentary, Moses made Diya ponder over the burgeoning homeless population back home. According to her, in India, seeing poverty everywhere, people become immune to the deplorable conditions of homelessness and poverty. But meeting Moses and then bumping into Fran Guijarro, the director of the documentary, made her realise that she could make some changes back home through this story. She needed to start with this documentary.
Thus, to take the dream forward, Diya and her team are working on a trans-media platform designed to unveil the hidden stories of individuals experiencing homelessness by connecting them with artists and storytellers.
Diya has previously worked as an assistant director and producer on a documentary titled The Mural, which garnered a lot of critical acclaim in the international short-film circuit.
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