It’s 2009. Nisha Grayson packs her bags, and with four of her closest friends sets out on a journey from the home she has known for twenty eight years. She travels from Sacramento, CA to her birthplace in Goa India on a quest for answers, family and true identity. YOU FOLLOW chronicles the experiences of an adoptee with a mind full of questions and a heart full of determination. When steps in the right direction lead to forks in the road, when loyalty and commitment come from unlikely strangers - Nisha faces an emotional series of unexpected challenges that test her character.
The underlying questions create a heartfelt saga that brings Nisha and her friends back and forth from India to the United States to find the answers to tehse questions: Who is Nisha’s birth mother, and will she ever meet her? With her perils come pain; with her progress comes hope. Twenty eight years after her adoption, this 39-month journey leads Nisha to deep introspection through her inspiring commitment to pursuing truth, and the adventure that comes along with it. In its essence, YOU FOLLOW is a compelling story about resilience, family and identity.
POST SUPERVISOR / MOTION GRAPHICS
ASSISTANT EDITOR / COLOR
2ND UNIT LOS ANGELES FILMING
2ND UNIT INDIA PRODUCER
INDIA CAMERA CREW
POST AUDIO SUPERVISOR
FINAL AUDIO MIX
SOCIAL MEDIA / MARKETING
SOCIAL MEDIA / MARKETING ASSISTANT
Josh Dion / Alex Robertson
Jennifer Van Horn
Zac & Lucas Eubank
Sharmila Ray, Nisha Grayson, Reena Ray & Hitesh Khalashi
Girish Parab & Munna Shalkin
I felt compelled to film an adoption adventure because it is truly like searching for a needle in a haystack when you don't know who or where your parents come from. I think that it is important for adoptees to search for their heritage and to reconnect with their past. I understand that the journey can be rough and painful, but I think that it can assist with the healing process. When a person makes an attempt for a reunion, it can give a small sense of understanding even if it is not expected or welcomed. The point is to try. We only have one life to look for the answers.
I wanted to gather the stories of people involved in the adoption process from the beginning to the end; the selection process for adoptive parents to adoptees that have reunited with their birth parents. Each unique story brought attention to the layers of people that are involved in adoption. Most of the time we see it from the adoptive parents perspective, and that adoptees should feel grateful, but that is not always the case. Adoptees have a lot of questions about their background especially when paired cross culturally. With this piece I wanted to juxtapose Nisha’s exploration of the Indian culture since being raised as a California girl.
It was also important to me to produce a project that examined the various elements of adoption within India and to explore the cultural differences domestically and abroad. In the US, there is a constant struggle for equality between the sexes and a fight for equal pay, while women in India still struggle to be socially accepted for the choices they make in regards to their own bodies. It’s so severe, that suicide is considered an option for an unwanted pregnancy. Being an American myself, I’ve come to see that we, as a first world society, complain about not having enough options, but in fact we do. We don’t see how fortunate we really are with the amount of resources and social support that is available; whereas in other parts of the world, this does not exist.
At times it felt like we were in a Choose Your Own Adventure book; putting faith in selecting the correct page to turn to in order for the journey to continue. I never knew if Nisha was going to give up or keep traveling the unknown path. I was fortunate to have an organic story unfold before me because Nisha was always open and honest. As a friend, I wanted to be there emotionally and encourage Nisha, but as a filmmaker I did not want to influence her just for the sake of drama.
This film is my first attempt in filmmaking, so I wanted to immerse myself in it. I put myself behind the camera and in front of the computer to edit five years worth of footage. I pounded the pavement to raise funds and to learn about distribution; from concept to completion I stayed committed. I am truly proud of the outcome and the lessons that I have learned in the process.
A pot of gold is never found at the end of a rainbow, but the adventure to look for the gold is the real attraction.
2015 India International Film Festival
2014 La Femme International Film Festival
GOOD DAY SACRAMENTO
SLANT EYE FOR THE ROUND EYE
Children's Home Society of Minnesota
LAND OF GAZILLION ADOPTEES PODCAST
SOUTH ASIAN WOMEN FOCUS
THE SACRAMENTO BEE
Producer / Social Media & Event Management
Director / Collaboration
Kevin H. Vollmers