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Iti Acharya Recounts Memorable Moments from the Prestigious Cannes Film Festival

Iti Acharya is an Indian celebrity, actress, world peace ambassador, social worker, humanitarian, aspiring producer, and former Miss South India winner. She is known for her films, which have millions of views on YouTube, in South Indian languages. Her films have done the rounds at international and Indian film festivals, bagging a few awards and garnering accolades. One of her indie films premiered in the U.S., at Harvard College and the Washington DC Center.

Photo Credits: Iti Acharya

Fashion Designer: Drisha Closet

How would you describe your journey as an actress in the Indian film industry?

My journey so far has been interesting, with both ups and downs, and lots of learning.

I am forever grateful to my Kannada industry (an Indian film industry of Kannada-language motion pictures), where I got my first break. No matter where life takes me from here on, My love for the Kannada film industry and its people will always prevail.

I’m proud to say that right now the biggest film in India is also a Kannada film, called KGF. The details of the craft, the humbleness with which every project or person must be approached, the mannerisms of a good actor on sets, the rituals that make a star stand out among normal actors– these are few of many things which I'm glad I got to learn, and I am sure would be more than sufficient to help me survive in any industry.

How did you prepare for Cannes 2022?

To be honest, I had been preparing for Cannes with my mom for the past five years.

So when I knew this year I would be attending, I had most things in place already.

I did use the lockdown time to do more research about the film market at the Cannes festival and understood that it’s so much more than just appearing on the red carpet.

I knew I had to represent my entire nation as a whole– from North to South, East to West. I wanted the Indian element in most of my looks and I am grateful to my stylists and designers who helped me accomplish it.

Was it easy to coordinate your itinerary and your wardrobe to perfection for the events?

It was definitely not easy. I have never been a rule follower. I was very particular in that I wanted to stick with Indian designers and stylists. I am so thankful to all the stylists who worked with me to put everything in place– Amit Pandya, MZ, Harshita Reddy, Anila Wilson, Mayur Srinivas, Jonathan, Sakina Ahmed. These are my people, I have been working with them for a few years. They definitely made the whole experience easy, while keeping my expectations in place.

What was your favorite moment on the red carpet at Cannes 2022?

I was glad to see the crowd’s response at Cannes this year. I was so skeptical about how people would react to a newcomer from India like me on the red carpet, but to my surprise people were so amazing. They were curious to learn about me, and so many of them wanted pictures with me. A lot of my fellow actress friends from Ukraine and Shanghai were also with me on the red carpet. They were extremely kind and sweet. I didn’t feel alone or clueless, not even for a moment.

Which events did you attend and what did you find striking about them?

I attended the Indian Pavilion opening, the Confederation of Indian Industry Pavilion opening, an Indian Pavilion Dinner, the Cannes Short Film Awards, an exclusive event hosted by Variety, a networking event by Define, and another exclusive party at Annex Beach.

All of these events were wonderful for networking and I most definitely met some amazing connections which could turn into working relations soon.

Tell us about the various looks and styles that you carried off on the red carpet. What was the inspiration behind the looks?

My first red carpet look was a lilac gown by Deepthi Reddy. Since it was my first time there, I wanted it to be a little avant garde. My style partner, Amit Pandya, one of the best in Bangalore, worked with me for days and helped me plan my hair and make up long before my trip. Her motto was “Conquer them all, Sweetheart!”

My second red carpet look was a custom-made thigh-high slit gown by a designer from Northeast India– Arif Mukhim. My stylist MZ was adamant that I should be comfortable and enjoy the moment.

My third look was a tribute to Bollywood actress and diva Sridevi- a white Indian Lehenga by Heritage India Fashions.

All my other looks were created by Harshita Reddy, Anila Wilson, Prashant Goyal, Sakina Ahmed, Jonathan, Dr. Durga, and Sri Ganesh Selection Jewelry. Wearing them was surreal. They were loved and appreciated by all.

I am so glad to have found such a talented and supportive team. Everyone has been super understanding, which was the most important thing. I never felt alone on the red carpet. I had my team’s love and tremendous support with me the entire time.

What was the networking experience like?

It was even better than what I expected. I have connected with so many other upcoming international film festivals, brands, film industries, and PR guys.

What is the main difference between Indian film festival events and the Cannes Film Festival?

The global reach, although we have amazing film festivals in India as well, I feel that Cannes is a great place for international collaboration opportunities for all industries, which must be properly utilized.

Did you get fair representation on the global arena?

Since it was my first time, I didn’t have high expectations. Obviously, there is a lot more one can achieve. I have learned a lot and will be better prepared for my next visit as far as global representation is concerned. Considering it was my first time, I am pretty content.

Tell us about something unforgettable from Cannes 2022.

There was always someone to lend a helping hand, even before I looked or asked for it. There were a lot of times where I was lost, was unable to do certain things on my own, or needed someone’s help. People there are so kind and amazing, there wasn’t a single moment that I needed help and I didn’t get it.

With the amount of times I had to thank people due to their generosity, I started feeling that the word “thanks” was not big enough compared to their kindness.

What was an important takeaway from the whole international film festival experience?

Participation in international film festivals is extremely important and beneficial for all film professionals, not only for actors, but also for technicians, producers, directors, journalists, photographers, and PR people. There is so much to learn and there is so much one can achieve with the connections there.

My next goal is to encourage more and more people in my circle to participate in international film festivals.


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