Mandeep Sodhi is a screenwriter, cinematographer and editor with over 16 years in film industry. He has donned many hats; starting from a clapper boy to a Gaffer, to a DOP and a Director. In 2010, after three years of working in the industry he found his liking towards writing, cinematography, and editing. Since then he has done over 6 feature films, 56 music videos, 4 feature documentaries, 40 corporate videos, and 16 short films in different capacities. He moved to Canada in 2011 and continues to pursue his passion for filmmaking.
These days he works as a writer, cinematographer and editor for other filmmakers and as an educator to young filmmakers at the University of Winnipeg. In his spare time, he writes, directs and shoots for himself.
He has won two national awards (India) for his docudramas, nominations for music videos at National and International Music Awards (India, Asia and Sierra Leone), and a few audience & jury awards in Canada. He has written and directed for television and had his works broadcasted on Bell MTS, Amazon Studios, Crave, Tubi , Mubi, Super Channel and other SVOD platforms.
When and how did you start in the media production industry?
I started in film when I discovered YouTube in 2006 in India. I created a web series at the time when YouTube was in its infancy. I was noticed for my work in Bombay, India and was offered the job of a Line producer and VFX producer at a visual effects company. Thereon, I have gone on to do many different jobs in the industry till I decided to focus on the three that make me happy.
What area of the film industry do you work in now and why?
I work as a cinematographer, writer and editor, only one of these at a time. These three fields, although distinct, are overlapping. As a cinematographer, I shoot for the edit, as a writer, I write for the visual and as an editor, trying to do justice to the story.
I love these fields as they allow me to create something from nothing and satiate my creative hunger.
What has been a substantial change in the industry since you started?
I am a first-generation immigrant, and in my time here, I have seen the industry grow. Ten years ago, the industry was a close-knit circle with a secret handshake, but now people are welcomed, and out-of-the-box ideas are seen as a novelty (and it’s great!)
If you could give yourself advice today to yourself in the past, what would it be?
Be persistent, don’t let doubt win!
You are capable and kind, just give your best for now.
What is advice you would give to someone starting off in the media production industry?
I would encourage them to pick a field of interest (or a few) and educate themselves fully and thoroughly in it (them). For growth comes by chasing excellence, money is only a byproduct.
Why is learning and training important?
Film is such a beautiful thing; it’s the highest form of art. We, as creators and collaborators, need to understand it in depth. It takes a commitment of a lifetime of learning and training yourself as things change and technology advances. Learning and training can allow us to be ahead of the curve and give our best to our work.
Film Training Manitoba has been a great resource for myself and that’s how I was able to get on set here.
What are some of the films, TV series or even books that have inspired you? How about anything new you’ve been into?
Fight Club (Book and Film both!)
Breaking Bad (All seasons)
*with David Fincher
*with James Cameron
The ASC Manual
Anatomy of a Story – John Truby
I love the show “Dave” on FX and Hulu. The writing is amazing, the cinematography suits the story and performances are great!
Is there something about you or an interesting past experience that you’d like to share with your colleagues?
I was a competitive bodybuilder in the 2000s; won state level a bunch of times and went onto Mr. India Competition twice. I still train and will be competing again in a year or so. Memory Pill Films are making a documentary on my current bodybuilding journey.
Is there someone within the film industry you would like to work with and why?
It would be a dream to be around James Cameron, just to observe his process because it’s fascinating to me how one person’s ideas can be so universally influential.
In Manitoba, I like all of my peers, everyone is excellent to work with.
Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
I see myself surrounded by talented filmmakers, young and old, established and new, old school and new school, coexisting in a creative space where they create freely and respect each other’s ideas.
FTM is a non-for-profit charity and member of the Province of Manitoba’s sector council program (through the Department of Economic Development and Jobs). FTM conducts workforce development and training to build a highly skilled and adaptable film industry to support the activities of Manitoba production companies. FTM collaborates with members of the film and television industry to identify the training needs within the community.