December 24, 2011

About a film, and a couple of festivals

My first short film Dilemma has completed post-production and is currently available for preview! If you have followed the making of the film, watched the trailers, get in touch for access to the full film!

I'll write at more length about the whole process another day. Today I want to unload my thoughts about a couple of festivals that just finished: Bangalore International Film Festival, and Stepping Stone Film Festival.

First of all.. wow! What a treat for local film buffs.

Stepping Stone Film Festival

This was held at Jaaga, a local hackerspace and culture hub. On the weekdays that I attedned, there were anywhere between 2-4 people at the screening. I was the only non-organizer then. I'm not sure about the reason behind this.. Jaaga is quite well recognised cultural hub, and the festival selection was pretty good.

For one, the screening schedule was being updated after the screenings. This perhaps put  people off. I just went in blind, taking everything in as a surprise. And attending on four days was well worth it just for a single short film: Proposals.

Proposals is a short comedy-drama about a couple that starts to fake engagements. As it builds, we delve deeper into the relationship, reach the core character conflict, leading to the beautifully crafted end. The actors have played their parts beautifully - I'd be on the lookout for future works by writer-director David Ehrlich, and the actor Sarah Kohl.

I just wished more people had seen this little gem. This film is not yet available on any of the alternative media download sites, or online video sites. I hope the filmmakers release it widely somewhere online.

Bangalore International Film Festival

A complete opposite to the former in terms of scale. Over 3000 delegates showed up. 4 films a day, 7 days, across 10 multiplexes/theatres. And the selection was fantastic. Jumping in quickly to my favourites:

When We Leave is a film about an muslim woman in Turkey who splits with her son from her abusive husband, and heads home to her family in Germany. Only to find herself constantly pressured by religious and societal types to head back to her master the husband. As her father says, "The hand that slaps, is the hand that sooths". We cry with her, feel her pain, and question her loyalty to her family. All of this builds to an ending that left not many eyes dry. I distinctly remember the people who broke down a couple rows behind. And the confused looks on the faces of the audience of the next film as we exited the hall. This was my bet to win the Best Film. It ended up grabbing the best direction.

Lucky was the first film I saw at the festival. I walked in a tad bit late, but was immediately hooked. It's a story based in South Africa about an old Indian woman who starts taking care of an African teen. It explores the themes of racism, poverty in Africa. A bitter sweet ending. This ended up winning the best film. I loved the chance to talk with it's director Avie Luthra.

A Separation is a Iranian film that follows the course of the divorce of a couple, and their adolescent daughter. The daughter wants to stay with her father, but her mother wants to migrate to a different country and provide better opportunities to her child. Meanwhile, the father is accused of a crime, and as someone who works to set an example of honesty to his daughter, is put into a few dilemmas. This film showed me that the vision of Iran I have in my head was quite a bit off what I saw in the film.

Lebanon is something I loved as a concept film. The story is told completely from inside a tank, and the troubles of the soldiers manning it during the Lebanon war. We see some gruesome scenes from the eyes of a new soldier. The feeling of claustrophobia enhances the mood, leading to an end that surprised me. A beautifully handled film.

Nobel Chor won that best Indian film (or similar) award. I was disappointed with this one. They had such an amazing idea, but the script and execution left a lot to be desired.

The Tree Of Life deserves all of the praise it's getting. Only thing that was off was the reaction by half of the audience that seemed unimpressed.

Interrogation was a surprise! A kafka-esque plot. If you get a chance, watch this classic.

A few I missed, but really want to watch: Bloody Boys, Air India 182 and Busong.

The other big thing at BIFFES was the film buffs. I had long conversations with other film buffes. Sometimes the knowledge that there are others out there who share your passion for cinema is invigorating. Handed out copies of Dilemma to a few filmmakers, and buffs.

It's good to know that a film festival has arrived to Bangalore in a BIG way.