We had the good fortune of connecting with Asha Dukkipati and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Asha, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
When my film teacher asked me what my favorite films were, I rattled off titles like Rocky, Forrest Gump, and Karate Kid. “Oh, you like The Hero’s Journey!” Ms. Curiel introduced me to Joseph Campbell’s theory that all heroic stories follow a similar structure. Campbell’s thinking helped me view my journey in film as a heroic one.
Growing up with learning differences, I underwent neurofeedback therapy—an alternative treatment to a drug approach. Watching at least two films a week with electrodes attached to my head starting at age nine, my ADD healed and my love for film grew. My involvement in filmmaking began in freshman year by joining my school’s film club. I first undertook the videography for my school’s basketball games and community service projects. This evolved my confidence to undertake bigger projects through directing my own films and having the privilege of having them screened at multiple festivals.
This creative journey opened new doors, leading me to becoming the director of the Pegasus Film Festival. The opportunity has allowed me to collaborate with immensely talented students, who also share a love of capturing the world through storytelling. Pegasus has taught me the importance of collaboration and what it means to be a leader: inspire others to do their best.
Like the lead heroes of my favorite movies, film-making has helped me develop the courage to pursue experiences that I’d never thought possible. I highly recommend aspiring student filmmakers, 19 years or younger, to submit to Pegasus to see what is possible in their creative journey: https://filmfreeway.com/
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I embraced learning through visuals and led film projects. My first attempt was on the benefits of neurofeedback therapy for children with learning differences—Train Your Brain. Producing this documentary required me to overcome roadblocks: securing clearances and approval to document work at The Neurofeedback Center of Dallas. I created the film with a zero dollar budget and crew of three. This project started as a way to help my local center, and during the process of filming, I realized my classmates weren’t aware of neurofeedback therapy. So I submitted to global festivals to spread awareness on this topic through screenings. Film made me feel accepted and helped alleviate my symptoms from learning differences—through this project I learned that I wanted to make others feel understood and bridge division by creating a wave of connection with film.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Dallas is an underrated city in my opinion. I have been lucky to visit multicultural and historic places including London and Tokyo, but some of my favorite memories stem from my hometown. From age 3 to 18, holding my dad’s hand, beside my mom, twin sister, and older brother I have accumulated indelible images from the DFW area. From our staple dining out places to must see attractions, I can direct you to a promising adventure: crossing the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge, seeing the Tadao Ando designed masterpiece museum in Fort Worth and the Dallas Cowboys training center in Frisco. I would have to also include eating a prime ribeye at Bob’s Steak and Chop or bibimbap in a hot stone bowl at Burning Rice. This range of cultural excursions within such a small square mile radius is unique and noteworthy.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Tamitha Curiel, Pegasus Film Festival, and my super supportive film buff parents!
– Janelle Frazier (Lead Photographer) – Aurora Barragran (Lead Videographer) – Daresalam Aylaew (Assistant Photographer) – Zarayiah Perry (Assistant Videographer) (some photos were taken in prior years, but I don’t know who took those photos.