SxSW 2020 Interview – COUP D’ETAT MATH director Sai Selvarajan

“This film will throw you into the deep end of the pool and watch as you try and survive.  The film will be a first hand experience as to what it is like to be an immigrant and the trials and tribulations you have to endure just to make it to the U.S. only to realized the journey is infinite.” Director Sai Selvarajan on COUP D’ETAT MATH which screens in the Texas Shorts section of SxSW Film. 

(Editor’s Note: While SxSW was officially cancelled on March 6th, 2020, the below interview was one of many that already took place prior to the festival. To respect the creators, all already performed interviews are presented in their unedited entirety below. All of the below works WILL make their way out into the world in one way or another, and we will update this article with updated information when we have it. — JW)

Welcome to the amazing SxSW and congratulations! Are you planning to attend SxSW and tell me about your previous experience here. 

YES! I had a piece in the Title Design Competition back in 2013.  We won the audience award, so that was amazing.

What is it about Austin, either the festival or the town itself, that excites you the most?

The food and the culture.

How did you first hear about the SxSW and wishing to send your project into the festival?

SXSW has been on my radar for a long time, I can’t even imagine a time when I didn’t know about SXSW.

Tell me about the idea behind your project and getting it made!

The idea was to try and show people what it like to be an immigrant.  

Who are some of your main creative inspirations?

Spike Lee is probably my main inspiration.  

How did you put this together from a technical viewpoint? What sort of cameras/lenses did you use and/or did you have any creative challenges in making it?

The time lapse was shot on a Canon 5D, the rest was made in Photoshop and Illustrator and then animated in Premiere and After Effects

After SxSW, where is it going next? Anywhere you would love to show it?

Hopefully BAM Cinemafest, Sidewalk, Maryland, and Telluride.

What would you suggest to theatres or even film festivals as a way to show more short films theatrically or make them more accessible to audiences across the country?

Play them before features start like Alamo Drafthouse and Pixar!

If you know of anyone around you wanting to become a filmmaker/creator, what would you suggest to get their start?

Keep making them.  Failure is underrated.

And finally, what is your favourite short film of all time?

PIONEER by David Lowery.

For more information on this film and to follow its progress into the festival world, point your browser to!

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