A visit to a film festival changed the life of artistic director Shivangi Singh
Image Courtesy: Shivangi Singh
We often associate the film industry with the prominent faces of actors, directors and producers, whom we see all the time in the media, and seldom recognize the countless talented teams who work behind the scenes to do wonders on screens. It’s time to recognize how the rest of the film industry works.
So here we have Lucknow’s daughter, Shivangi Singh, decorator, set designer and artistic director based in Los Angeles and Mumbai. Interested in fine arts, a young Singh moved to Delhi and joined Jamia Millia Islamia University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. A visit to an international film festival turned out to be a life-changing experience and pushed her to pursue a career in the film industry. Singh has worked in art exhibitions as a researcher and project manager with some of the country’s top contemporary artists and curators, including Raqs Media Collective after graduating.
Singh soon she landed her first break as a storyboard artist for Marguerite with a straw in 2012. She then worked in several award-winning feature films, shorts and commercials.
She moved to Los Angeles in 2016 to pursue graduate studies at the Art Center College of Design and begin a career in Hollywood. Stepping out of her cozy home life, she found herself in an industry with less than 20 percent women. “As an Indian immigrant, I constantly felt the need to continue to prove myself and work harder than my male colleagues to earn my place,” she says. “Breaking stereotypes and giving women confidence that you can do the job as well, if not better, takes time and involves constantly proving yourself. “
Singh faced a typical middle-class reaction from friends and acquaintances who suggested that he not work in the film industry. Her family, however, have been a constant pillar of support. She continued to establish herself, and during her ten year career she made her mark working with some of the best directors like Shonali Bose, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Kabir Khan and Pradeep Sarkar. “I just hope I can inspire more girls to come and make their dreams come true and remember if you can dream it you can do it too,” said the 33-year-old.
With remarkable works like Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Children of war, The speech (which was shortlisted at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, 2020), and the American reality show Make the cut Singh has received several accolades to his credit, including the Hollywood Art Department Union’s Production Design Fellow Award, Art Director’s Guild of America.
She recently completed her work as a scenographer for Façade Secret Life of Domestic Animals at the Universal Studios theme park in Hollywood. She is working on the next Dharma Productions film Jugg Jeeyo jug.