By Arun Fulara. Posted on October 04, 2017
There's a buzz in the air. Filmmakers everywhere are breaking boundaries, creating new narratives and making films in ways previously thought impossible. One of the biggest reasons for this is the advent of technology that aids and abets filmmakers who lack resources. The smartphone in your hand is good enough to shoot a feature. Powerful films have been shot and made on phones that fit in your palm. Groups of young people are seizing the moment and telling their stories.
Even studios are putting their weight behind the movement. Viacom Studios, one of India’s biggest film studios, is organizing the third edition of its annual short film festival, Cineshorts, with the aim of promoting young filmmaking talent. The festival is looking for the next big filmmaker and you still have a chance to send in your submissions (till 20th of Oct).
Making a short film is not a step on the ladder to making a feature. Unfortunately, that’s how many treat short films. As the acclaimed film critic Richard Brody says here, “The short film doesn’t supplant the feature; it nourishes it. It doesn’t make a filmmaker’s career, but it augments it, just as a brief visit to a friend may bring a wise word that may stick with a person for a lifetime.”
Many legendary filmmakers subscribe to this ideology and have used short films to further their cinematic voices. Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Akira Kurosawa, Satyajit Ray, Tim Burton, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are some of the directors who’ve experimented with the medium. Yes, that’s what it is, a medium that has its own rhythm, much like a short story has its own idiom completely independent of the novel.
There is no dearth of reasons to make a short film. For those who are still dabbling with the idea let me give you a few reasons to take that final step forward.
Short films are a great way to try things out, to wet your filmmaking beaks and to build your filmmaking muscles. Like in most other fields, you get better the more you practice. Unless you own a diamond mine, you can’t really afford to experiment with your feature films. Short films allow you the freedom to test your ideas and that’s how you grow as a filmmaker. It is also a wonderful way to explore new themes without spending millions of rupees, to find and develop your voice and get your work seen by people far and wide.
Independent filmmakers slog their way to their first features, sacrificing everything along the way, but most of these films end up disappearing from the theaters in a week or two. It’s only on Netflix where people eventually watch them but even there the competition for eyeballs is intense. A two-hour film has to really stand out to get people to watch it. However with a short, the time investment is too small, a few minutes, and people don’t mind doing that. Thus good short films end up getting millions of views online and a filmmaker can get instant feedback from potentially millions of viewers in a short while. And that’s what we filmmakers crave for, don’t we?
Even a decent festival run allows your film to travel around the world where it can be seen by thousands of cinema-loving folks. Getting yourself out there in front of festival programmers, producers, sales agents and distributors could give your filmmaking career a powerful boost. You may use it for your future projects, short or feature. Even if you make a short every year, you will have something to show the world and the value of this is priceless.
So don’t wait around. Go on and get your film made. The last date to submit your film at Cineshorts is 20th Oct. Use that to motivate yourself and get going.