Thursday, 30 May 2013

At Octopus Studio Short Film Screening, Scene 10.

It was two days in a row of going to LaMakaan. After the Startup Saturday event, I was there again on Sunday (12-May-2013), this time the session being short films screening by Octopus Studios.

This was first time I’d attended a screening of short films. It was conducted in a very professional manner. Founder Rahul Reddy explained the format. They conduct this event every two months, take submissions of feature films, which are given to an anonymous jury who select the final list. After the screening, the film makers would address the gathering and then there would be a question and answer session.

The featured filmmakers were: Krishna Chaithanya Joshi, Priyadarshi Pulikonda, Neehar Cherabuddi, Sai Krishna, AISFM, Manojh Reddy, Arun Ghosh, Ravi Teja Gandra, and Nagesh Gundpaneni.

I liked almost all of the films that were shown. However, just like when watching regular films, I did get the feeling that the short films could have been done better. It happens so often these days -- whenever I watch a movie, I think, “I can do better.”

One thing I should say, though. All the films had distinct themes and presentation styles. This is so different from the formulaic and tepid fare dished out to us in mainstream cinema. It’s really appreciable what the short film makers pull off in limited time with restricted budgets.

During the Q&A session, the directors were asked about how they felt when their short films were appreciated and how they felt when the audience disliked the film and fidgeted with their cell phones or just plainly walked away. I thought they answered this question well, though I am not reporting the answers here.

Rahul was asked what were his plans of taking this event forward. He said he wants to make this a national event. Even on that day there were entries from Chennai and U.S.A. So he will plan his next event in which short films from all over the country would be invited.

I asked if the filmmakers had regular jobs and if yes, how they managed their film making. Joshi took the question and said that it’s a lot of hard work and he manages to squeeze time during his weekends. In fact when he started making short films back in 2010, he hardly knew anything about film making or shooting with camera. But with sheer passion and dedication, he could make 10 films or so in the last few years.

Some of the filmmakers said that they did not want to convey any message. Take the example of the eminently likeable short film Half Mark, about which the director Arun Ghosh said it was about childhood experiences and he also had lost by half mark once. But my view is that the theme should emerge from the conclusion, and in the end of the film, the kid writes a letter to his mom about how he cheated. She takes a spoon or something to hit him and starts chasing him as he starts running. I thought the last part could be made better.

The crowd may not be from NIT/IIT or IIMs, but the human attributes of struggle and aspiration are very palpable. It’s also more stylish and glamorous than the staid technology and startup conferences I am used to attending.

The whole idea behind Octopus studio and the activities they do are very admirable. In particular about short films they say on their website, “We are open to fresh talent, we don’t look at the background they come from. We are not bothered if they have formal education/training/experience in film making, we are more concerned about the passion they have for cinema. At octopus we intend to work with passion & execute with discipline. We at Octopus will download your entire headache of the production including pre production & post production. This will enable the filmmaker to concentrate on the creative aspect of the movie, instead of worrying about the production blues.”

Oh my, my. Hyderabad - you surprise pleasantly. With interesting people with off-beat ideas and goals. It’s so exhilarating to know that people like Rahul Reddy are here with an supportive entity like Octopus. For me and a lot of people, they could be gateways to a new world that is really, really enticing.

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