A New Path

Filmmaker Q&A with Director Gregory Walsh

Is there a particular documentary film or filmmaker that had a major influence on your career?

Marshall Curry/Street Fight


What do you want audiences to take away from your film?

I think this film demonstrates the powerful effect of education in empowering people from historically disadvantaged and marginalized communities. It shows that a determined individual can overcome entrenched systems of oppression and exploitation if equipped with the knowledge and tools to do so. At one point when I interviewed him, Mukesh said to me, “Today I am speaking with you because I got a little bit of good education. Otherwise I was not supposed to come in front of you.” The poignancy of this statement always makes me very emotional when it appears in the film as it exemplifies both the hope and promise of education and the extent to which it is still denied to so many extraordinary people around the world who could change things for the better if only given the opportunity.


Please list key points that should be covered in a post-screening discussion:

  1. The impact of traditional social systems (i.e. casteism, racism, classism, etc) in keeping certain groups undereducated and therefore voiceless in society.
  2. The link between poverty and corruption and their effect of stifling development
  3. The role of education in international development and the challenges to overcome in securing the right to education for everyone.


Please provide information on any recent developments regarding the issue or subjects of the film. How have things changed or not changed?

Since completion of filming, Mukesh has continued to work as a social activist and video journalist, taking on several high profile cases of medical negligence and addressing other local issues.  Mukesh’s latest video reports can be found at the following link: http://www.videovolunteers.org/author/mukesh/


What opportunities are available for those interested in getting further involved?

Anyone interested in volunteering with or supporting the work of Video Volunteers can contact them through their website: http://www.videovolunteers.org/contact/


Please provide any additional resources (websites, links to additional videos, forms, articles, etc.):

Article from the Committee to Protect Journalists on the false charges filed against Mukesh:


Links to Mukesh’s Video Reports for India Unheard:



What motivated you to make this film?

“A New Path” began as part of a volunteer stint with a nonprofit community media organization called Video Volunteers based in Goa, India.  The initial purview of my work was to make a short video for VV’s website about one of their community correspondents, Mukesh Rajak. After meeting him and witnessing his activism first hand, it became clear that it wasn’t possible to fully do justice to his story in the span of a 5 minute video, so I resolved to return to India and create a more in-depth film.


Please tell us about any special styles or techniques that you used during the production of your film to help tell your story.

I was lucky to be able to capture several vérité scenes of Mukesh’s investigations into government corruption.  Due to the endemic nature of corruption in the local community and corresponding lack of oversight by local media, no one was afraid to be featured on camera and I had incredible access as a result.


Please share a personal story about your experience making this film.

I mentioned previously the reward that comes when you manage to capture the perfect moment to complete your story. On this film, that moment came when I showed up one day to shoot a morning assembly at Mukesh’s childhood school and discovered the student body all singing “We Shall Overcome.”  I knew instantly that it would be the perfect coda to the film.


How did your story evolve from day one, to the very last day in post? Is your story what you thought it would be?

The story evolved from a 5 minute video, to an intended feature-length documentary, and finally became a 27 minute short film.  When I initially resolved to return to India, I hoped that I would be able to follow Mukesh’s journey over many years, but that became unfeasible for a number of reasons.  I believe that the finished film does justice to Mukesh and the importance of his work, but it would have been nice to feature the additional strides he has made as an activist since I finished shooting.


Please describe the most rewarding experience you had while making this film.

Watching Mukesh grow as a social activist and a young man over the course of making the film was definitely the most rewarding aspect of the process for me.  Each time I returned to India, his English language abilities had improved remarkably, as had his discipline, skill, and focus in his activism, all while retaining the youthful passion for his work that he had when I first met him.


What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?

No one else will believe in the value and importance of your project as much as you do.  Keep the faith and maintain the self-discipline to see it through to the end.


What’s your favorite part about the filmmaking process and why?

No one else will believe in the value and importance of your project as much as you do.  Keep the faith and maintain the self-discipline to see it through to the end.


What’s the one item you always take with you when working out in the field and why?

Shooting video is undoubtedly my favorite part of filmmaking.  The challenge of vérité-style shooting, in which you only have one chance to get the shots that you need and the excitement that comes when you manage to capture just the right shot or scene to tell your story is incredibly rewarding.



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