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Get, set, shoot: India Film Project returns for ninth season- Cinema express

Get, set, shoot: India Film Project returns for ninth edition

Jury members Abhishek Chaubey, Pradeep Sarkar, Apurva Asrani and Amandeep Singh talk to us about the latest edition of India Film Project

Published: 04th October 2019

The ninth edition of India Film Project (IFP) will be held in Mumbai on October 12-13. Founded in 2011, the content festival has emerged as one of the biggest platforms for aspiring filmmakers and storytellers in Asia.

The festival’s flagship event, the 50-hour filmmaking challenge, was conducted between September 27-29. Competing teams were assigned to script, shoot, edit, and submit a film in under 50 hours. The categories were broken up into professional, amateur, and mobile filmmaking. Over 32,000 filmmakers from 28 countries had participated in 2018, making more than 1,500 short films in two days. 

The jury members for this year’s 50-hour challenge are directors Abhishek Chaubey, Pradeep Sarkar, Anjali Menon, and Pan Nalin. Abhishek, who has directed critically-acclaimed films like Ishqiya, Udta Punjab, and Sonchiriya, said ‘content’ is the lifeblood of any filmmaking project. “Technical finesse comes lower in the order for me. What matters most is the core idea and the clarity of vision with which it’s told.”

Abhishek noted that digital technology has made filmmaking more accessible. “When I started out, there was a deep mystery around the craft. Today, anyone can shoot a film on their phone and edit on their laptop. It’s become really easy, which I feel should be the norm.”

Pradeep Sarkar hailed video-sharing platforms like YouTube for spurring the short film boom across the globe. “I started my career in advertising, where we had to tell stories within 20-30 seconds. From there, I went straight to making feature films. There was no intermediate short format back then. It’s a new phenomenon that has happened because of the internet, where you can express your ideas at a viable length.” 

Writer-filmmaker Apurva Asrani, who is judging the annual scriptwriting challenge, shared his thoughts on India Film Project becoming a cultural institution. “I have followed IFP since its inception and participated in previous panels. It’s the only platform that nurtures the next generation of talent. It also does a fabulous job of connecting industry professionals with upcoming artists.”

Apurva hailed brevity as the foremost skill of a screenwriter. “Just because you are making a short film doesn’t mean the idea needs to be small. I am looking out for writers who can communicate big ideas in a short span. Also important is filmmaker’s intent — if he or she is touching upon an issue or reflecting the psychology of our times.” 

Last year, IFP added a new event called the ‘storytelling challenge’. This section is for poets and spoken word performers to showcase their talent. Storyteller Amandeep Singh is on the jury for this year’s event. Speaking about his craft, Amandeep said, “The storytelling scene has picked up in the last few years. Oral narratives have always been a part of our culture; it’s a craft that integrates the artist and the audience in an intimate way. At IFP, I want participants to bring absolute honesty to their pieces. I feel the purpose of any art, whether it’s cinema or literature, is to communicate genuine feelings.” 

India Film Project 2019 will also feature talks and discussions by Nitish Tiwari, Vikramaditya Motwane, Manoj Bajpayee, Tahira Kashyap, Kubra Sait, Jim Sarbh, Patrick Graham, and others. The festival will conclude with the 50-hour filmmaking award ceremony.

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