Follow director James Kicklighter on his journey through making Desires of the Heart, shooting in Savannah, Georgia and Rajasthan, India.

Director James Kicklighter setting up the shot with Director of Photography Tim Gill in Bikaner, India, shooting Desires of the Heart in Rajasthan
Director James Kicklighter and Director of Photography Tim Gill in Bikaner, India

Directing my first feature film, Desires of the Heart, would have been enough in one location. But doing a movie in Savannah and Rajasthan created new challenges.

I was lucky to be given the opportunity by producer Solila Parida to direct Desires of the Heart, spending months revising the script and planning.

While we shot in Savannah, Georgia and Rajasthan, India, I worked daily with lead actor Val Lauren to continue that process, who is a talented writer and playwright.

I learned much about stripping material down to its essence from Val, a skill that has served me well moving forward.

Director James Kicklighter and actor Val Lauren on the set of Desires of the Heart in Rajasthan, India

Once we arrived in Bikaner, India, the city where we were shooting in Rajasthan, our Indian cast and crew was there, along with my co-director for the Indian portion, Rajesh Rathi.

We had to blend our American team with the folks who had been working there. Collaborating with Rajesh, he made things quite straightforward for me and Val, who is in every scene of the movie.

I was able to focus on the creative; the script, performances, character arcs, and shooting style, while Rajesh was able to focus on executing the logistics and cultural sensitivities of filming in a foreign country.

Director of Photography Tim Gill and I had planned extensively on a shift of shooting style, moving slower in Savannah with single takes and flowing dolly shots. Moving to India, we would be moving faster, to emulate the change in Val's character, but also the culture we were observing.

Especially in that part of India, people generally do not speak much English, so I was incredibly grateful for Rajesh and his knowledge.

Rajesh was able to pull moments in the film from background talent and even small one liners with people on the street that I could have never accomplished alone. When you have that dichotomy, it enabled me to focus on that big vision while he made those details authentic.

Director James Kicklighter on the set of Desires of the Heart in Rajasthan, India

The devil is always in the details.

So anyway.

While we were shooting the film in Georgia, I was able to easily post and edit these video blogs from my iPad. Once I got to Rajasthan, with limited internet and mobile service, that became more difficult to both edit and shoot them on a daily basis.

Getting wrapped up in post-production, various clips sat on my iPad for many months.

Now that we're done, I put this together for you.

It's not particularly insightful to the filmmaking process, but I hope it gives you a taste for what Rajasthan was like.

I hope to go film there again, the locations, and people, are remarkable.