“You Can talk the talk but can you walk the walk?” We have all heard this at least 100 times but have you ever really sat down and thought about it? Like really thought about it. Our latest film explores this very notion of walking the walk both figuratively and well… literally. This is the story of Jessie and Preeti, but we feel like we can all relate to the journey they take in this sikh wedding video.
We believe the best characters are the ones people can relate to, maybe that’s why Batman is so popular, we can relate to him, he does not have super powers like all those other DC Comic hero’s, he’s just a person, like us, he has flaws. With every film we set out to make we always do our homework, with one key thought in mind, how can we relate to this story and these characters.
Over the years we have filmed a lot of South Asian Wedding Videos, it’s funny looking back on it now, I remember the very first Mayian Ceremony we filmed and how we were not really sure what this was about, even our very first Henna night, why are they drawing on each other, seems a bit odd? This was not a culture I had a lot of exposure to as a young person, so to us, at this stage in our journey as filmmakers, we were just excited to film something different, something filled with colour and movement. It wasn’t until we started putting the film together that we started to realize what these ceremonies meant and how they made us feel. That was actually a major turning point in how we planned our films moving forward. Since then we have really tried to understand further what all of these ceremonies truly represent and how they relate to our characters, from the Mehndi to the Milini to the Pani varna they all mean something. So not only do these moments stand out visually but they represent this incredible journey that the bride, the groom and their families are taking. This has given us an incredible back drop to tell stories and has also provided a very strong narrative. So I guess you could say we love shooting South Asian Wedding Videos!
Up until this point however we have never really told a story for a couple that was as spiritual and as educated in the Sikh religion as Jessie and Preeti. When we first met them we noticed that they were fun, goofy, silly and most importantly very passionate! We just loved our first meeting with them. They told us a lot about what was going to be important to them during their wedding week. The one thing that came up over and over again was how important the ceremony was, in particular, the four laava. This is the moment when bride and groom join in spirit and become one. Now we have filmed this before and we understood what each laava symbolized but when they explained it to us it felt different, it felt important, something that they held close to their heart. They told us how the four laava represented a life long journey, one that we all must take. Powerful stuff right, this conversation would be the spring board to an epic summer adventure that would take place across the stunning Alberta landscape. Over this week we would experience and reflect on our own journey as we filmed these incredible moments.
The First Laava – Practice
As we mentioned this wedding film would take us to Alberta – Edmonton, Calgary and Banff to be specific. John spent a few days in Calgary with Jessie and I stayed in Edmonton to shoot some of Preeti’s events. Now whenever we arrive on a destination wedding the first thing we do is location scout, we get a sense of the space and make sure we will be prepared to film in that location. This is very similar to the the First laava, the first laava is all about practice. Before you can truly experience life you need discipline and you need to educate yourself. This is something we have learned over the years, something that is so important to our process. The more prepared we are the more we can enjoy the shoot and the better our story telling will be. Already after only touching down in Alberta for a few short hours we were already beginning our journey and we could relate to the first laava.
Jessie and Preeti were also beginning their journey. Preeti’s Henna ceremony and Jessie’s Mayian Ceremony are all about family, celebration and preparation. Filming these moments to us represented practise in their story, the first laava, seeing all the faces of all the close family and friends that have thought Jessie and Preeti so many lessons in their lives represented so much to this part of the story. They can now walk the first circle together and fully understand it.
The Second Laava – Experience
When can you truly appreciate something? It’s a good question, for us the first time we truly felt satisfied filming was not the first time we picked up a camera, it was much later in our careers, it came after years of practice and years of learning. We all want instant gratification, but it’s only through knowledge that we can truly understand and appreciate an experience. We can remember being so pumped when we bought our first DSLR, I think we might have thought that just turning it on and looking through the lens would give us an incredible image, we quickly learned that it’s not that simple. Filming some of the incredible moments from this week felt very retrospective. Being able to take our skills we have gained over the years and apply them to so many beautiful moments is really something special.
During the entire week Jessie and Preeti were experiencing moments, moments that they could now fully appreciate after all the practise and all the knowledge they have gained. Dancing at a Sikh Wedding is something so special, there is a reason it jumps out at you in our films, it’s because it means more then just having a good time, it’s about letting go and just being, it’s about freedom. The joy that they take from it is directly related to understanding why it is important. So now when Jessie and Preeti walk the circle for a second time they can properly experience it. Do you see how everything is starting to come together? Cool right.
The Third Laava – Knowledge
During the wedding week the most powerful and emotional moment is almost always during the Doli Ceremony. Why is this? Well, this moment represents when the bride leaves home and becomes a woman, it’s not about leaving her family it’s about becoming her own person and joining another family. It is a beautiful moment, filled with tears and powerful emotion. It’s hard to take that step and move forward into a new journey. Whether it’s when you graduate and move to the big city, when you get married, or maybe when you have a child, life is filled with these moments. These are the moments that define you and it can be hard to take that step, but once you have done it you can feel connected to something bigger then yourself. Preeti’s Doli Ceremony was one of the most incredible moments we have had the honour to film. It makes for an incredible climax and fits with the third laava perfectly.
The Fourth Laava – Union
We all have a moment when we step outside ourselves and realize just how precious life can be. On the last day of filming in Banff, John and I were in the forest trying to film some scenic landscapes, we thought that would fit really well with Jessie and Preeti’s story. We wanted to capture purity and where better to do that then in the mountains of Banff, Alberta. While we were shooting John spotted a single Elk roaming the forest, he was followed by an entire herd. It was an incredible moment, it was just us and this herd of wild Elk, it felt so peaceful and so pure. It was the kind of moment as a film maker you dream about and it fit our story so perfectly. The Elk allowed us to film for several minutes while they grazed in the fields. It was something we will never forget. To have a moment like this in our film, a moment that to us was the perfect place to start this journey in our film and to have it happen at the end of our filming journey just brought everything full circle.
In closing, Jessie and Preeti’s wedding video was a very special film for us on so many levels, we pushed ourselves to make the best film we know how and when you do that it makes all your future films that much better. Most importantly it gave us perspective on our journey as film makers and as people. We feel this is a film that we can all relate to, a film that can spark an emotion in all of us and those are the best stories worth telling.
Music licensed through the Music Bed
Wedding Ceremony: Maharaja Banquet Hall Edmonton, AB
Preeti’s Henna and Mayian Ceremony: Edmonton Alberta Canada
Jessie’s Henna and Mayian Ceremony: Calgary Alberta Canada
Reception Venue: Fensland Banff Recreation Centre, Banff AB Canada
Photography: Buffy Goodman Photography