In the past decade, the film industry has been undergoing a transformative creative revolution. While there are still massive budget films with marquee names and CGI, many of the most intriguing films have come from independent filmmakers who are taking agency over their own career trajectory, those like Ary Satish. An award-winning actor in his own right (Ary recently received the Best Actor Award from the New York Film Awards for his appearance in Take Care), as Head Executive and creative producer of the crime/thriller Mise En Place, Ary proved that his passion for creating film is similarly extraordinary even when he is not in front of the camera. He communicates, “Film production had always been something I’d set out to do in parallel to acting, as the two complement each other so well. It is the love I have for films overall that gave me an appreciation for how they are produced in the first place.” Mise En Place thrilled audiences as an Official Selection of the Shockfest Film Festival and the New York Long Island Film Festival. The film also placed as a semi-finalist at the IndieX Film Fest, a highly competitive and world-leading, official IMDB award qualifying film festival, known for boosting Oscar-Contending films. The suspense and tension of this film is overwhelming in the most pleasing of ways. The thrilling part of a story is not necessarily only in the story itself but also in the talent and skill of those telling it.
Working alongside writer/director Nik Elrifi, writer Naomi Nelson and writer/actor Isabel Lawley in New York City, Ary took part in creating a great whodunit with the film Mise En Place. Satish and Elrifi have a long shared history and perspective dating back to their training together as acting students at The Meisner Studio in NYC. Ary contends that his acting and producing fuel each other stating, “The work I had done as an actor prior to producing this film was actually my single most powerful tool as a producer. Not only did it give me an empathy for the work of our actors, it gave me knowledge on how to accommodate best for them on set, allowing them to create their best work comfortably.” Watching Mise En Place, one is enveloped in the suspense and intrigue. It’s only when secrets from behind-the-scenes are illuminated that it becomes clear how the influence of a producer like Ary Satish can empower and support the actors for a better outcome. The Producer describes, “In the film’s opening scene, our lead character (Talia) enters the bathroom and finds that an act of murder has taken place. Rather than the intensity and drama of this scene coming from the act of murder that Talia stumbles upon, the directorial vision was to focus on Talia’s reaction primarily, to convey just how grave the situation was. We see the scene through her eyes. Because of this, our actor for Talia needed to reach a level ten of emotional intensity, given the hypothetical circumstance was that her best friend had just been killed and she was the first to not only find out, but to witness it in front of her. The level of panic, fear and grief in their scene is immense and I knew it would require our actress to be as relaxed, calm and focussed as an actor in preparation for the scene. As the producer, I talked to our director about this and together we allocated for more of a time gap before this scene needed to be shot, so that our actress would be confident in the time she has to prepare for it. I also had a word with the actress and asked her if she needed anything to help her preparation, after which the crew was able to divert her to a space away from the business of the set to prepare on her own. Given the emotional intensity of the scene and that we had many other scenes with our lead actress to shoot that day, it was important to me to limit the number of takes we do on this bathroom scene, because actor’s fatigue can very easily happen and the last thing we want is to make this actor repeat such a heavy scene several times. By reducing the number of takes and communicating this to our actor, we were able to get a great performance from her with just the first two takes and only needed coverage afterward.”
Proof of the high regard that his fellow collaborators held for Ary is the fact that he was included in the “Best Story” writing nomination the film received from the New York Long Island Film Festival. His contributions to story concepts, camera movements, and support of the actors elevated the tone and look of Mise En Place to its status as an award-nominated film. However, these accolades are not the compensation that Ary sought as EP and producer of Mise En Place. It’s far more esoteric than that. He confides, “The most rewarding feeling for me as a producer has to be having a film to your name. As an actor, you are a vessel, a medium by which a story is told. Quite often you join on to other people’s stories, ideas and visions, rather than being the person behind it all. As a producer, this is your creation. You have your name on it, so it gives ‘ownership over my work’ a meaning it never had before. I think this is a special feeling because as a producer, you are also an employer of castmates and crewmates. These people all have a job currently because of you. They are all working toward a shared passion which you were able to include them in on. There is a pride in that.”