While today’s movies look nothing like the first film made in 1888, their purpose remains the same: to help all of us to step into the lives of others and empathize with them. The most powerful transform us, inspiring us to take action in a world that sorely needs positive change. As an LA-based film editor whose work embodies this truth, Kartikye Gupta has used his films to encourage audiences to look at the world differently and seek out what they can do to make it better.
“My debut film was Dr. Elevator, which was awarded by Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis and screened at over fifty film festivals,” says Gupta. “With this success, I saw that through film editing, I could use my skills to make my audience laugh and still leave awareness of many themes and ways of thinking. Editing is a powerful medium, and with it, I set out to effect change in the world.”
Gupta enjoyed even more success the following year with his next film, Please Don’t Call the Cops, which premiered at the South Asian Film Festival (SAIFF). Nominated for his first HBO award, the film’s positive reception was acknowledgement of Gupta’s growing reputation in the industry.
“As my work was recognized, more opportunities opened up for me, and I saw that I could do something very positive with my skills,” Gupta recalls. “I was determined that whether I made short or long films or even ads, their long-term collective vision would focus on communities, including their fears, struggles and dreams. I wanted to highlight the universality of the human experience but to do so in a comical way, as laughter is so healing.”
Gupta states that as a film editor, his ultimate goal is to have each frame of the movie to blend seamlessly with the next, creating a movie experience that is realistic, compelling, and immersive.
He is particularly known for his representation of minorities and immigrants, and in Flint Tale and Cold Wall, he perfected the art of bringing the different and the diverse into a connected, unified whole.
“I wanted to give a voice to people who are vital members of American society but too often find themselves standing on the periphery, unable to fully participate as they should,” Gupta says.
His work in the Vishal Solanki film Mirage, set in contemporary LA, helped it qualify for the BAFTAs as well as receive three additional film nominations. As the film’s editor, Gupta broke with expectations and highlighted the intimacy between the characters.
“I set the movie’s rhythm similar to that of the 90s, which helped me to underline the complex world that the characters lived in,” he explains. “It was a risk that paid off, as the entire film only had two words of dialogue, meaning that the pacing that I established drew the line between the present and the past of its cinematic world.”
With his work known throughout the film space, Gupta began receiving recognitions from the biggest names in the industry, including HBO, CNN, and Vice, and he continued to be honored at major international film festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival and the Oscar-qualifying AFI Film Fest.
Gupta’s status in the film world has risen even more due to his work for Facebook, where Gupta helped visualize the viral Metaverse film that introduced the possible future of virtual reality to millions of viewers around the globe. He has also partnered with AT&T, Nike, and Reebok to create ads that encompass a strong human element and that have been aired everywhere from screens in Time Square to your TV set.
Gupta states that it is his creative editing work in the charitable sector that has been the most rewarding, as he has been able to effect real change.
“I collaborated with Hope B-Lit and YouWeCan, headed by sports personality and humanitarian Yuvraj Singh, to edit the documentary Got Cancer,” he says. “It was embraced around the world and won more than a dozen awards, including Best Editing at the AOF Megafest Las Vegas Film Festival. I was grateful that I could use my skills to help a cause receive more attention.”
Gupta also believes in the importance of representative governments, and accordingly, in the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, he partnered with advertising agency Electica to edit over ten video campaigns ensuring free and fair elections, which were seen by over six million people throughout the United States.
Concerned about climate change, Gupta also edited for Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, combining social consciousness with community needs and focusing on supporting dependent economies, workers, and communities to diversify away from fossil fuels. The film was viewed at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference by more than 100 world leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden.
Gupta says that his partnership with Joanna Friendman, Director of the largest nonprofit in the U.S., Children’s Law Center of California, has been very meaningful.
“I care deeply about empowering children who are ill, their families, and their communities,” he explains. “To support children in foster care, I showcased three films at the annual Art of Advocacy Gala, which helped the CLC raise over $200,000.”
Gupta will always endeavor to use film and his skills to help the world understand itself better, saying that people all have unique stories that must be told. He is fascinated by their passions, energies, miracles, and dreams.
“I am committed to allowing viewers to have an authentic peek into the lives of other people and to highlighting the universality of the human experience,” Gupta says.
“Film will always be an excellent way to embrace our differences and understand each other better. As a film editor, with each new story I help tell, there arises a new way of telling it. It is my duty to help perfect it for the audience.”
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