Ruchika Muchhala is an award-winning storyteller who works at the intersection of filmmaking and human-centered design to tell stories with people, not for them.
Ruchika has directed and produced two feature documentaries while based in Mumbai for seven years, “The Great Indian Marriage Bazaar” and “Beyond Bollywood”, both of which are available to view on Netflix.
With over a decade of experience in the television and film industry, Ruchika has produced television shows and documentaries for VICE Media, MTV, History Channel, Discovery Channel, Crime & Investigation Channel, RedBull TV. She has also produced numerous independent films and campaign videos for nonprofit clients such as the Association for Women in Development, Acumen Fund and grassroots organizations such as La Casa de Don Pedro in Newark, NJ.
More recently, Ruchika led a pilot project for a large health client in New Jersey where she implemented a participatory design research and storytelling methodology in which she conducted media trainings with twenty five youth so that together they could collect data and stories. The research was compiled and edited into a documentary film, “Food for Thought: A Path to Food Security in Newark, NJ”, which the client has been using as an engagement tool to collect more research and recommendations to solve for food security in one of the most economically stressed cities in the U.S. “Food for Thought” will be premiering at the national ethnography in business conference (EPIC) this year and will be participating as a panelist on agency and representation.
Ruchika holds a MFA in Design for Social Innovation from The School of Visual Arts and a BA in Film/Video Studies and Gender Studies from The University of Michigan. Identifying as a third culture kid, having been raised in Indonesia and Singapore by South Asian parents and being a part of an international community, Ruchika is committed to telling our own narratives and decolonizing the way stories are told.show reel
Food For Thought
Newark was voted the “most stressed city in the United States” in 2017 with high rates of obesity and diabetes caused by the systemic issue of food insecurity. By designing research with community members and youth who we trained as citizen journalists, we produced a documentary film “Food for Thought” and engagement tools to collect community insights that will advise RWJBarnabas Healths’ Social Impact and Community Investment initiative on their multi-million dollar social impact investments to advance total food security in Newark.A design research and participatory media project to guide RWJBarnabas Healths' social impact investments to better food security in Newark, NJ. see more
For more than a decade, the Dominican Republic has acted on a policy to not provide nationality documents to children born to “undocumented immigrants;” the majority being born to immigrants of Haitian descent. In order to address these issues with experts and academics, we designed the roundtable discussion so that participants work through issue portfolios that contain background information on the issues being deliberated, guiding questions and stories of those most directly affected by the crisis. As an outcome, this roundtable series navigated deliberations on how to better identify and protect stateless persons.For the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a design research and visual storytelling project to address the issue of statelessness and ethnic cleansing in Haiti. see more
The Great Indian Marriage Bazaar
The Great Indian Marriage Bazaar is a feature length quirky and insightful documentary film that explores how traditions and rituals are being redefined and contextualized in modern-day ideals of urban Indian society during an era of post-liberalization. We created an engagement strategy to screen the film and prompt dialogue at forty different venues including women’s festivals, organizations, educational institutions, and commercial venues. As an outcome, the film sparked dialogue and inquiry with women and girls around the world on issues the film explores of sexuality, identity, and femininity.Feature documentary which follows the director in a quirky take on the crisis modern Indian women face as they navigate between tradition and issues such as femininity, identity and sexuality. see more
From wages to healthcare, from parental leave to workplace dignity, the national conversation about job quality is often limited to theorists and elites leaving workers and employers without the tools to actively create good jobs that meet the fundamental needs of America’s people. By creating engaging visual stories, we created entry-points to reach new audiences and everyday Americans on the issue of job quality. The goal was to expand Americans’ understanding of what essential values make a job a “good job” and broaden the conversation on social and live platforms of #GoodJobsForAll.A campaign kickstarted by Rockefeller Foundation to change the way Americans think and talk about good jobs today. see more