By Utpal Borpujari in Cannes
The bustling Marche du Film (Film Market) at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival has 19 young Indian short filmmakers looking for mentors and finances who might help them take the next big step in the world of cinema.
These 19 are showcasing their short films and documentaries in the Short Film Corner section which is part of the overall market.
Paying a fee of 95 euros each, these filmmakers have entered their films in SFC with the hope that they would attract the eyes of film festivals, buyers as well as potential financiers who could bring in the money for their future projects.
These filmmakers are competing with several thousand other similar young filmmakers from all over the world, who have entered their films in SFC with the same purpose.
Among the films selected are “Water Bariere” by Mahendran Baskar, “India Rediscovered” by Rohan Sabharwal, “Even Cactus Goes to Heaven” (USA-India) by Parthiban Shanmugam, “Paradise Lost” by Arving Iyer, “Test No. 213” by Nishant Shrinivasa, “Begin Again Since the Beginning” by Alka Mehta, “Heena & Boxing Gloves” by Jay Shankar Singh, “The Eyes of Silence” by Avi Sidhu, “Gulabi Gang” by Shagun Rastogi, and :”Who Thought About Little Boys” by Keshab Pandey.
The remaining nine films, interestingly, come from Subhash Ghai’s Whistling Woods International Film School students. They are “Ek Tha Main” by Paras Chakravarti, “Roorkee By-Pass” by Arundathi Sen Verma, “Tuesday” by Vishal Gandhi, “Tying Strings and Shame” by Ataullah Hossain, “News” by Sarvesh Mewara, “Gir Gaya” by Chirag Arora, “Ansuni” by Sunny Bhambani, “A Writer’s Affair” by Aditi Anand and “Shoo” by Surendra Pratap.
Quite interestingly, a growing trend is being witnessed in recent years of Indian filmmakers showing their films at the Cannes Market, including the SFC, and then claiming that there films have been showcased at the Cannes Film Festival.
To be clear, market screenings are never considered part of the main festival anywhere, but probably some filmmakers make falsified claims just for a ego boost back home, and it is invariably the press release-driven sections of media that help them make such claims.
This year’s Indian entries at SFC have diverse themes. They include the fictional, such as Baskar’s 15-minute film (SFC entries have to be within 35 minutes, and might be of any theme barring those attacking nations, beliefs and communities broadly speaking), that is a story set in Paris about a kid neglected by his parents.
On the other hand, Sabharwal’s film is a TV documentary pilot episode that explores forgotten historical monuments in India. Shanmugam’s film is about a differently-abled child, while Iyer’s is a music video starring Tibetan singing legend Namgyal Lhamo expressing her anguish about the situation in Tibet.
Shrinivasa, through his animation film, has chosen to focus on how modern media would have turned out to be if they chose to represent the age-old values imparted by conservative parents, while Mehta’s India-France co-production is a comical representation of whether it is possible to forecast the success of a movie. Jay Shankar Singh, meanwhile, has brought a very interesting film on two sisters from the conservative Muslim society who want to be boxers.
A documentation of a social movement in the villages of Bundelkhand where a group of women are trying to protect themselves and others like them aainst social malpractice, abusive husbands and corrupt administrators is what makes up Rastogi’s “Gulabi Gang”.