Texas Jaanu

Austin, Texas | Film Short

Romantic Comedy, Drama

Aliza K

1 Campaigns | Texas, United States

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This campaign raised $10,215 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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A bold and offbeat newlywed from India wants to assimilate to her new life in Austin on her own terms, while her subdued and conventional husband struggles to keep up with his wife’s heady transformation. TEXAS JAANU is about how love must create a space for us to be our most authentic selves.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

TEXAS JAANU re-invents the immigrant narrative by centering a romantic optimist from India who transcends assimilation to American values by honoring her own individuality and radical potential. As a filmmaker, Khan gravitates towards misfits who subvert norms around identity and culture.

The Story


A newlywed from India wants to assimilate to America on her own terms while her husband struggles to keep up with her heady transformation.


TEXAS JAANU follows ZOYA (25), a playful and spontaneous immigrant looking for ways to keep herself occupied in her new life in Austin. Unfortunately, she doesn't know how to drive, has no friends, and she wants to claw her eyes out every time her in-laws suggest she take the GMAT.


Zoya has a huge crush on her husband, the earnest Indian-American software engineer AAMIR (29), but his job as a poster boy for Corporate America dampens her hope for an exciting life as a young married woman.


A chance encounter with an experimental filmmaker NATHAN (23) at an independent movie theater screening Guru Dutt's PYAASA (1957) leads her on a chaotic, but thrilling journey of making Nathan's ambitious, zero-budget film with his best friends LUCIA (24) and HAWKE (22). The film set becomes a space for friendship and exploration, and Zoya discovers her own creative voice.


Working on the film monopolizes Zoya's time, which complicates her marriage. Aamir struggles to find a place for himself in his wife's busy schedule, which he fears has become more attractive to her than he is.


TEXAS JAANU is a rom-com about a married couple whose love story truly begins in the last scene of the film.


The Namesake (2006)



INSPIRATION

At 26, I married my American boyfriend and immigrated to the United States, leaving behind my life as a film producer in Mumbai to start a new chapter in Austin, Texas. In Mumbai, I worked as a development executive and producer at Sikhya Entertainment, a production company behind groundbreaking and award-winning independent films from India.

Growing up cosmopolitan in a vastly globalized world meant my struggle as an immigrant had little to do with culture shock or clash, and more to do with carving a place for my voice as an artist. Mumbai showed me what it was like to live life at breakneck speed; the city made demands of me at every turn, and I thrived rising to the challenge. I struggled to feel similarly connected to my life in Austin. As I experienced life through the passenger seat of my husband's car, my eyes kept searching for things, people...anything to hold on to.


Around this time, I went to a screening of Satyajit Ray’s THE MUSIC ROOM at AFS Cinema. Suddenly, my two worlds were strung together by my lifelong love of film. I remembered that I’d already fallen in love with Austin through the eyes of filmmakers like Richard Linklater, back when I was a teenager in Hyderabad. Thus, TEXAS JAANU was born. I knew then that I wanted to tell a story about how cinema bridges worlds and creates opportunities for us to understand ourselves, each other, the collective, and the universal.


At the onset, I wanted to portray a woman's struggle to find herself as a possibility for joy and experimentation. Zoya isn't scared of her new surroundings, instead she craves adventure at every turn. TEXAS JAANU is inspired by films which center romantic optimists who find themselves through new friendships and new spaces, such as AMELIE (2001) and LOST IN TRANSLATION (2003).


VISION


TEXAS JAANU will be defined by Zoya's "subtropical" POV, in which Austin is presented as a world of saturated colors and intense sensations. A 2:1 wide aspect ratio, along with a soft and grainy visual look, will convey how immersive Zoya's new world feels. Within the home, it dwarves and contains her. Outside, she finds inspiration in its expanse.


Zoya will be characterized by various shades of deep, rich reds signifying her inner strength and romantic ideals. Aamir will be shown in blues ranging from the unoffending pastels of corporate workplaces to navy blues that emphasize his sense of isolation. Aamir will often be framed within boxes - windows, doorways, and mirrors.



The camera will become more fluid and airy as Zoya sets forth on her journey of making "the film within the film". TEXAS JAANU will emphasize Austin's cultural vibrancy through locations like AFS CINEMA and THE MUSEUM OF HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT. The wide frames and large depth of field will create opportunities for playfulness as the film delves into the behind-the-scenes hijinks of making indie movies. "The Film Within The Film" will differ in visual style from "the main world" of TEXAS JAANU because it will be shot with a lo-fi DSLR aesthetic, grungy and unvarnished, in a 1:1 aspect ratio.




TEXAS JAANU is anchored by joy, ambition, and open-heartedness. From the get-go, I sought collaborations with artists who had a relationship with Austin and the city’s proud independent filmmaking community. I want to add my voice among Austin’s auteurs who have engaged with the city through their lens. 



We have already raised over 60% of funds through private financing. The team is currently raising funds to help greenlight production.


The funds we raise will help us cover:


  1. People - We have some incredible folks on the crew of the project. Help us cover rates and mileage for the 20+ people working on this film!
  2. Places - Securing "authentically Austin" locations, like AFS Cinema, The Museum of Human Achievement (MOHA), and The Long Time.
  3. Possibilities - We will be filming during peak Austin summer. Help us cover food and beverage costs, as well as cooling equipment that will support the team during the hot Texas days!



Seed & Spark requires that we raise 80% of our goal for the project to be funded. Your contribution to the campaign will support an incredibly talented cast and crew make the best possible version of this film.


Meet The Team:


Aliza Khan (Writer/Director/Producer) - Aliza Khan is a writer and producer living between Austin and Mumbai. After graduating from the University of Southern California, she began working at Academy-Award-winning production company Sikhya Entertainment (The Elephant Whisperers, Masaan, The Lunchbox) in Mumbai. Most recently, Aliza produced a short film in the California desert called 'Mirage', which was selected for the 2023 NALIP Women of Color incubator, sponsored by Netflix and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Santa Fe International Film Festival. Texas Jaanu, which was selected to be part of Rickshaw Film Foundation's Short Film Program, will be Aliza's directorial debut. Aliza loves finding connections with people and places through film and music, so she always feels right at home wherever she goes.


Dini Parayitam (Co-Writer) - Dini Parayitam is an Indian American writer/filmmaker based in Brooklyn. She has an MFA in Fiction Writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was an Emerging Writer-in-Residence at Yale-NUS College in Singapore. She has written/directed the short film "All Your Yesterdays" and written/co-produced an original short film "How Do You Like Your Eggs" (both of which were selected at Oscar-Qualifying and Award Qualifying film festivals). She recently participated in the Rickshaw Shorts Program as the co-writer for "Texas Jaanu" (dir. Aliza Khan). In addition, her TV-pilot "Evergreen" (sci-fi/drama) co-written with creator Maryan Nagy Captan is listed as Top 3% of screenplays on Coverfly. With writer/poet Jerika Marchan, she co-wrote the feature screenplays "A Silent Wave" (dir. Sachin Dheeraj Mudigonda) which has been chosen for the first-ever IFFLA's Industry Day Launchpad.  


Mase Kerwick (Producer) - Mase Kerwick is a filmmaker and comedian based in his hometown of Austin, Texas. As a producer, Mase has lent his expertise to several narrative shorts and a myriad of campaigns for commercial clients, including Dell Technologies, Whataburger, Frost Bank, Deep Eddy Vodka, L.L.Bean and Wrangler, among several others. He’s currently developing a fictional audio drama for Packhowl Media set to be released in 2025. Since 2017, Mase has hosted the popular comedy show Queertowne, which was recently nominated for Best Podcast in The Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin Readers Poll. As a performer, he's been featured in lineups for SF Sketchfest, Dallas Comedy Fest, FronteraFest, Austin Sketch Fest, and beyond.


Maryan Nagy Captan (Creative Producer) - Maryan Nagy Captan is a Coptic Egyptian-American educator, filmmaker, and award-winning poet based in Austin, TX, where she lives with her partner and young daughter. Since 2010, she has collaborated with numerous non-profits to offer accessible poetry and screenwriting workshops to marginalized communities. She is an alum of the Disquiet Literary Program and a 2021 graduate of The Michener Center for Writers. As a producer, Maryan is passionate about stories about immigrant women. Current projects include Bev Chukwu’s short film “Princess” and Aliza Khan’s “Texas Jaanu.” Maryan is currently in the development stage of a proof-of-concept film titled “Evergreen,” which she co-wrote with filmmaker Dini Parayitam. Since 2021, Maryan has been a key member of the Austin Film Society's Artist Development team, where she supports Texas filmmakers' artistic growth. Her contributions include mentoring emerging filmmakers, developing educational programs, and fostering collaborative environments that amplify historically marginalized voices in the film industry.


Sachin Dheeraj (Creative Producer) - Sachin is a Directors Guild of America Student Award-winning filmmaker whose work has been screened at prestigious film festivals such as Hot Docs, Raindance, EnergaCAMERIMAGE, and Krakow. He strives to tell stories about people, places, and communities that are slowly disappearing and aims to affirm their existence through cinema. 


Breathing life into Zoya and Aamir are Sajel and Srinivas, two talented actors who bring a great sense of dignity and sensitivity to their portrayals of their roles. With this film, we are excited to showcase the incredible range of South Asian talent in the US.




To reach our goal, we'll need to spread the word beyond our networks. Help us do that: shout us out on social media, tell your friends and family about us, write to us with any media opportunities that can spread the word about our campaign at [email protected].


Here are some examples of what you can say! Feel free to copy and paste for social media:

Help @uhleeza.khan make @texasjaanufilm, a rom-com about love and film in Austin, Texas. Join her on @seedandspark: seedandspark.com/fund/texas-jaanu


What happens when a romantic optimist marries a corporate pragmatist? I'm so excited about TEXAS JAANU by writer/director @uhleeza.khan. Filming in Austin in July 2024! Support @texasjaanufilm on @seedandspark: seedandspark.com/fund/texas-jaanu


Wishlist

Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Locations

Costs $2,000

We've found some iconically Austin locations for the film: AFS Cinema The Museum of Human Achievement and more!

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Cast and Crew Labor

Costs $5,500

Our cast and crew are passionate, driven, and working their butts off to make this movie. Help us pay them!

Production Catering

Costs $3,000

The key to a great film is a hydrated and well-fed crew. Help us make this film by feeding the team!

About This Team

Aliza Khan, Director


Aliza Khan is a writer and producer living between Austin and Mumbai. After graduating from the University of Southern California, she began working at Academy-Award-winning production company Sikhya Entertainment (The Elephant Whisperers, Masaan, The Lunchbox) in Mumbai. Most recently, Aliza produced a short film in the California desert called 'Mirage', which was selected for the 2023 NALIP Women of Color incubator, sponsored by Netflix and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Santa Fe International Film Festival. Texas Jaanu, which was selected to be part of Rickshaw Film Foundation's Short Film Program, will be Aliza's directorial debut. Aliza loves finding connections with people and places through film and music, so she always feels right at home wherever she goes.


Mase Kerwick, Producer


Mase Kerwick is a filmmaker and comedian based in his hometown of Austin, Texas.


As a producer, Mase has lent his expertise to several narrative shorts and a myriad of campaigns for commercial clients, including Dell Technologies, Whataburger, Frost Bank, Deep Eddy Vodka, L.L.Bean and Wrangler, among several others. He’s currently developing a fictional audio drama for Packhowl Media set to be released in 2025. Since 2017, Mase has hosted the popular comedy show Queertowne, which was recently nominated for Best Podcast in The Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin Readers Poll. As a performer, he's been featured in lineups for SF Sketchfest, Dallas Comedy Fest, FronteraFest, Austin Sketch Fest, and beyond.


Dini Parayitam, Co-Writer


Dini Parayitamis an Indian American writer/filmmaker based in Brooklyn. She has an MFA in Fiction Writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was an Emerging Writer-in-Residence at Yale-NUS College in Singapore. She has written/directed the short film "All Your Yesterdays" and written/co-produced an original short film "How Do You Like Your Eggs" (both of which were selected at Oscar-Qualifying and Award Qualifying film festivals). She recently participated in the Rickshaw Shorts Program as the co-writer for "Texas Jaanu" (dir. Aliza Khan). In addition, her TV-pilot "Evergreen" (sci-fi/drama) co-written with creator Maryan Nagy Captan is listed as Top 3% of screenplays on Coverfly. With writer/poet Jerika Marchan, she co-wrote the feature screenplays "A Silent Wave" (dir. Sachin Dheeraj Mudigonda) which has been chosen for the first-ever IFFLA's Industry Day Launchpad. 


Maryan Nagy Captan, Creative Producer


Maryan Nagy Captan is a Coptic Egyptian-American educator, filmmaker, and award-winning poet based in Austin, TX, where she lives with her partner and young daughter. Since 2010, she has collaborated with numerous non-profits to offer accessible poetry and screenwriting workshops to marginalized communities. She is an alum of the Disquiet Literary Program and a 2021 graduate of The Michener Center for Writers. As a producer, Maryan is passionate about stories about immigrant women. Current projects include Bev Chukwu’s short film “Princess” and Aliza Khan’s “Texas Januu.” Maryan is currently in the development stage of a proof-of-concept film titled “Evergreen,” which she co-wrote with filmmaker Dini Parayitam. Since 2021, Maryan has been a key member of the Austin Film Society's Artist Development team, where she supports Texas filmmakers' artistic growth. Her contributions include mentoring emerging filmmakers, developing educational programs, and fostering collaborative environments that amplify historically marginalized voices in the film industry.


Sachin Dheeraj, Creative Producer


Sachin is a Directors Guild of America Student Award-winning filmmaker whose work has been screened at prestigious film festivals such as Hot Docs, Raindance, EnergaCAMERIMAGE, and Krakow. He strives to tell stories about people, places, and communities that are slowly disappearing and aims to affirm their existence through cinema. 




Current Team

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