Films | Artist Interviews | GOING LONG ON SHORTS


Posted by Vivek on April 26, 2011 | No Comments

Why are we using words used in Stock and Options trading in a film context? “Going Long,” means to believe in the value of something and holding on to it as something you will own. We believe in the talent in these short filmmakers, each of whom had their films selected, in the shorts category, of the recently concluded IFFLA. Abhkay Kumar, showcased his film, JUST THAT SORT OF A DAY, Rakesh Chaudhary presented THE ECLIPSE OF TAREGNA and Iram Parveen Bilal gave to us POSHAK. Here we talk to the three filmmakers:


What does it feel like being at IFFLA?

I’m settling in so its getting better by the day. This is my first trip to the US.

Tell us about the process of making your film?

The film was made over a period of 9 mths . It was made under a budget of $50. It’s a hybrid medium film, we’ve shot live action and the characters are all hand drawn stick figures. So we’ve mixed a lot of mediums to come up with this. We had our world premiere at Rotterdam, we won in Germany, now we are in IFFLA, then we go to Tribecca.

On the conceptualization of the idea?

The thematic base of the film is Randomness vs Meaning. The premise is whether the events unfolding around the characters is all chaos, or is there a semblance of meaning.

Tell our readers  about yourself?

I am from Chandigarh. I am now based out of Mumbai, where I work out of. I make independent films and this is my first festival submission, so have been travelling now for the past six months. Once this ends, then perhaps the next project. I did a post graduate diploma from Xavier Institute of Communication, in Mumbai

Why a short film?

Cause that is what I can afford now. And short films are a stepping stone for me to find my genres when I step into the world of features. So I am trying to find my strengths and weaknesses through these stepping stones.

You do realize that by making short, Bollywood might brand you, like other short and documentary filmmakers, to be “core Arthouse?”

I’ve always been “indie” in mindset, so the idea was to assemble a low budget, “gureilla style.” Lets see what happens with that approach, no use planning too far ahead.


Why the subject that you did choose?

I think it was an evolution. I am a news junkie and keep looking out for news that is interesting. But then I like to get deeper into how it impacts people. So in 2009, NASA did announce that the longest Solar eclipse is going to happen on 22nd July and the best place to view it would be Taregna. So I started to read about Taregna and there are a lot of interesting places I could have taken that story to. Taregna happens to be the observatory of Aryabhatta. So a lot of these weird coincidences, so Taregna means counting stars, so it has a relevance to space. But I wanted to make the story a little more intimate, so I started with this Pathak family. And as I started writing it became more about the characters and the eclipse became more of a backdrop. But the eclipse plays a major role, it is a catalyst, in transforming the relationship in these principal three characters.

Tell us about yourself?

A) I’m based out of New York. By day job I am a Product Manager for a technology company called Akamai Technologies. But all along I have been pulled towards visual art, photography, animation and filmmaking. Have used the camcorder to make several short documentaries. For the first time I actually made a film with a  proper crew, so I took some time off from work last year and decided to do something a little more substantial. Went back home to my parents in Mumbai and made this short.

What does it feel like to be part of IFFLA?

This is the fourth film festival i am participating in. It has screened in the Indian Film Festival in Tampa, it screened last month at the Queens World Film Festival in New York where the film won two awards. IFFLA of course has been great. I’ve been watching IFFLA from a distance since I’m based in NY and I never had the opportunity to attend, but I always admired the festival in terms of its organization and reach so to be here as a filmmaker is an added boost.

Where do you see yourself going after this?

I would like to continue to make shorts and documentaries that are relevant in terms of social themes. Eventually it would be a move towards feature films.

Short filmmakers from India tend to get recognition outside first, before India wakes up to them?

It’s definitely true. There are very few festivals in India that cater to short films. The biggest film festival in India has a very small shorts section. MAMI in Mumbai has no short films. There is no culture in India of nurturing new talent. You have to go through some studio system.  So foreign recognition does correlate to some sudden cache back home. That is the reality.


What inspired you to make your short film?

A) Poshak was very instinctive. I was writing poetry cause I was upset with how people judge you based on the way a person looks and dresses. As I started to get deeper into the poetry it became clear to me that this is a story about an artist who is trying to find her inner soul. She has created a face for society and in the process forgotten who the real person is, so it is about unearthing the layers to find the inner soul.

A little bit about yourself?

I am an Engineer from Cal Tech turned filmmaker. I travelled around the world after my undergrad and I decided to apply to film school, cause I was obsessed with movies. I grew up on Shah Rukh Khan. I got admitted to USC and I got my Masters  and since then have been writing, directing, shorts, music videos the works as I work towards my first feature.  Poshak premiered in Rotterdam in January. After this it plays in Athens, Ohio, which is an Academy qualifying festival. Then it is also going to be playing at NYIFF.

Your take on the state of the film industry in Pakistan?

There are two ways to look at it. It’s depressing because there is no infrastructure and there’s a dying Lollywood (Lahore) industry. But its also a huge opportunity because there’s a lot of new talent. A lot of people in Lahore and Karachi are picking up cameras because there has been no voice heard internationally, coming from there. So I think this is the right time to be a Pakistani filmmaker, because it is rising and it has immense potential.

Has there been a difference in the perception of Pakistani cinema after Khamosh Paani and Khuda Ke Liye ?

I love the fact that they made such powerful films. At least now the world is paying attention that yes there is something exciting in the cinema that is coming from Pakistan. I know of five films that are coming up right now that are very good scripts, having won international screenplay competition to be completely filmed in Pakistan, so that is good. Every film that is being made in Pakistan, irrespective of whether I like it or not, is good for Pakistan.

On being selected at IFFLA?

IFFLA is very special to me. I’ve been a staff member of IFFLA for five years now. IFFLA is incredibly supportive of the independent voice and they really treat their filmmakers well. Selection process is very fair, it doesn’t matter if you are on staff, in fact it probably means it is more strict.

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