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Across the Ocean (film)

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Across the Ocean
Directed byUma Kumarapuram, Nicole Donadio
Produced byUma Kumarapuram, Nicole Donadio
Written byUma Kumarapuram, Nicole Donadio
  • Apoorva Bose
  • Anna Jaller
  • Sreeram Ramachandran
  • Muthumani Somasundaran
  • John Eric Hoffman
  • Veenah Nair
CinematographyUma Kumarapuram, Nicole Donadio
Edited byNoufal Ahmed, Nicole Donadio
  • Quadd Productions
  • Krahen Media
Release date
  • September 21, 2019 (2019-09-21) (CSAFF)
Running time
82 minutes[1]
CountryIndia, United States
LanguageMalayalam, English
Budget$35,000 (estimated)

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Across the Ocean is a 2019 Indo-American comedy-drama film, written and directed by Nicole Donadio and Uma Kumarapuram. The film stars Apoorva Bose and Anna Jaller in the main roles and tells the story of two women in two countries, trying to get to their dreams of traveling abroad despite their career, relationships and family troubles.[2]

The 82-minute bilingual movie portrays an inter-cut narrative pattern of two parallel stories happening in India and the USA. The film premiered in 2019 Chicago South Asian Film Fest garnering wide appreciation from the audience [3] and has been selected for the 2019 Vancouver International South Asian Film Fest as well as the LIFFT INDIA FILMOTSAV-World Cine Fest 2019. The film also won Best Original Idea at the 2019 Top Indie Film Awards [4](Summer Edition) and it was also nominated for Best Feature, Best Writing, and Best Editing categories.


Holly, a young executive working in California, is unenthusiastic about her current life and dreams of travelling the world. 9000 miles away, Nila, a mid-20s software engineer from Cochin, has her eyes set in migrating to the USA by finding a US-working fiancée.

When an opportunity to work in Cochin comes, Holly is excited. But Jacob, her boyfriend is not that happy about it, so Holly is suddenly torn between her dream and her relationship. And Nila gets a shock, realizing that her fiancée Anand has plans to settle in India post-marriage. Desperate, Nila starts trying to figure out how to use her office connections, which she had till then neglected, as a way to travel to the USA.

Holly decides to take up the job in India, leading to the break-up with Jacob, just as he was planning to propose to her. And Nila has her hopes high when she learns that there is an outsourced project opportunity from the US to her company.

But things doesn’t go as they wish for both young ladies, as Holly’s job opportunity was cancelled last minute when the investors pull away, and Nila is taken out of the office team despite her good work, because of her carelessness in the past. Both ladies realize that if they want to get to their dreams, they have to take a bold step at the moment.


  • Apoorva Bose as Nila Menon
  • Anna Jaller as Holly Morgan
  • Muthumani Somasundaran as Gayathri Ram
  • Sreeram Ramachandran as Anand Menon
  • Veenah Nair as Jamila Rahman
  • John Eric Hoffman as Jacob
  • Krishna Smitha as Aanya Johar
  • Erinrose Widner as Zoe
  • Jolly Chirayath as Aunt
  • Austin Arnold as Marcus
  • Warren Davis as Hughes
  • Darin Toonder as Shawn
  • Devika Krishnan as Sumi Elizabeth
  • Mohan Ankamali as Raghava Menon
  • Thankam Mohan as Parvathi Amma
  • Vishnu Mohan as Nivin Menon
  • Joshua Basili as assistant to Johar
  • Adam Pilver as Mitch
  • Shelley Phillips as Susan
  • Meghan Bradley as Rose
  • Gopu Kesav as Anand Father
  • Pria Menon as Anand Mother

Development and production[edit]

Donadio and Kumarapuram met on Facebook in 2015, after Kumarapuram saw a parody spoof video directed by Donadio, The Women of Wall Street and sent Donadio a congratulatory message. The idea to do an experimental movie together while sitting in their home countries came up casually during their Facebook chats during then. A few months later, the duo took up the challenge seriously and started writing the script.

In 2016 October, Donadio launched her crowdfunding campaign in Kickstarter aiming to raise the production money for US half of the movie, and as her campaign ended, Kumarapuram started hers via Wishberry India, to raise the production funds for the Indian half. Both campaigns were successful, with more than 200 backers together putting in money for the movie.[5]

After a pre-production phase of 3 months, principal photography started in 2017 April. The movie was shot in Cochin and Los Angeles simultaneously by two independent crews. Daily screenshots, audio clips, and video snippets were swapped between the crews so as to keep the tone and quality consistent in both footages. The main schedule of the principal photography was finished by May 2017.[6] [7] [8] [9]

After a detailed back and forth between the filmmakers with a rough first edit and consequent patch shoots, the hard discs from both sides were sent to the main edit in Thrissur, Kerala on 2018 January. At the same time, the scoring started in LA. The four teams- the two filmmakers, the editor and the music director- worked in sync via mails, Google drive sharing, and dropbox links. The edit finished by March 2018, with the movie taking its final form in an intercutting pattern and seamless into one feature film. By mid-2018, the movie had taken a rough final shape, but still in work-in-progress mode, when it was selected as one of the Film Bazaar Recommends section in the NFDC Film Bazaar Goa 2018. The post-production works were finished in LA by May 2019.

Film Festivals[edit]

The film was selected/screened at the following film festivals:

  • 2019 Chicago South Asian Film Festival (CSAFF)
  • 2019 Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival (VISAFF)
  • 2019 Top Indie Film Awards
  • LIFFT INDIA FILMOTSAV World Cine Fest 2019
  • 2018 NFDC Film Bazaar Goa[10]


  1. "Across the Ocean - CSAFF Selection".
  2. "The Newsminute Feature on Across the Ocean Making 2019".
  3. "Across The Ocean: Making a Film From Two Ends of The World. Q&A with Nicole Donadio & Uma Kumarapuram".
  4. "Across the Ocean - Top Indie Film Awards".
  5. "Across the Ocean Making - Indian Express Interview 2016".
  6. "Across the Ocean - SilverScreen Interview 2017".
  7. "Across the Ocean - Women in Hollywood Feature 2016".
  8. "Across the Ocean - The Newsminute Feature 2016".
  9. "Across the Ocean - Deccan Chronicle Feature 2016".
  10. https://issuu.com/filmbazaarindia/docs/viewing_room_e-catalogue_2018

External links[edit]

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