Interview with Rickshaw Girl Producer, Eric Adams
I’m looking forward to seeing a beautiful indie film coming out in February this year in select theaters and on streaming. The story is based on a resourceful Bengali girl trying to breakout of the confines of her traditional female role in her culture. Even so I live in the USA, where gender equality appears to be improved, as a female artist/filmmaker, I am still struggling to have the same opportunities as my male counterparts, so the story felt close to home. I love these types of films of encouragment and hope. To me, they are food for the soul.
Sylvia: Eric, what attracted you to the story of Rickshaw Girl?
Eric: My wife and I visited Bangladesh about seven years ago and we had the unique opportunity to meeting emerging filmmakers there — it’s a talented and motivated group of creatives. Among them is our director Amitabh Reza Chowdhury, one of the most beloved directors in Bangladesh. A few years later, the acclaimed novel Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins landed in our laps. It’s a poignant story about a Bangladeshi teen-aged girl who longs to be an artist but chooses instead to help her family by dressing as a boy and riding her father’s prized rickshaw for extra cash. This was the perfect story because it allowed us to utilize the bright colors of rickshaw art while telling a compelling girl empowerment story.
Sylvia: Are there issues the film helps to shine a light on and makes us aware of?
Eric:In Bangladesh, like many countries, opportunities are few for girls and women. They usually get married, work in a garment factory or become domestic servants. So many people around the world, not just girls, never get the opportunity to allow their creative talents to shine. Our film is about a courageous young girl who found a way to become the artist she always wanted to be — and a successful one at that. Someone once said, and I’m paraphrasing: The question is not what made Einstein so brilliant, but how can we empower all the Einsteins working in the fields and factories who never are given the opportunity to shine. Rickshaw Girl is dedicated to these people.
Sylvia: That’s incredibly true, Eric, and heartbreaking. What a waste. Do you have any inspirational stories of overcoming challenges, as far as getting this film made?
Eric: A piece of advise; do not, repeat do not, attempt to make a film 13 time zones and 10,000 miles away. My workday started at 11pm and I traveled seven times to Bangladesh during development, preproduction, and production. Each one-way flight is 26 hours. That’s over two weeks on planes to make this film. We overcame monsoons, pandemics, political upheavals, and technology nightmares. On the flip side, I made so many life-long friends in Bangladesh and I came away with a new understanding of cross-cultural collaboration and different ways of telling stories. I would do it all again and I’m forever changed for the better.
Sylvia: I have to agree that it’s while facing our greatest challenges that we learn the most and grown the most in life. If we only do what’s easy and comfortable, we reap much less of those rewards. Sounds like quite the adventure. I look forward to seeing Rickshaw Girl soon.
You can take a look at the trailer at our website www.rickshawgirlmovie.com. We’ll be in select theaters end of February 2022 and then onto your favorite streaming services. Please follow us on on Instagram and Facebook. @rickshawgirlmovie.