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Being on ‘Top of the World’

Being on ‘Top of the World’
Ritam Bhatnagar founder of India Film Project (IFP) started the annual filmmaking competition in 2011 in which competitors are given a particular theme every year and 50 hours to produce a film. They can choose their own location and actors, but they must submit the complete film within 50 hours. The competition is successfully celebrating the sixth edition this year with the theme ‘Top of the World’ within the genres - experimental, humour, drama and adventure and a compulsory element - a comic book.

The eminent jury for IFP 2016 include National Award Winners like Madhur Bhandarkar, Nagesh Kukunoor, Sriram Raghavan and Tamil movie director Vetri Maaran who have handpicked the best films from the lot. The IFP challenge this year had over 23,600 filmmakers making 1200+ films. 

Film enthusiasts on Saturday would witness workshops by:

*Culture Machine, Comedy Factory, Screenpatti on ‘How to go Viral’ 

*Kanan Gill on ‘Pretentious Short Film Reviews’

*The Viral Fever, Y-Films and The Film Companion on ‘Anatomy of a Web-Series’ 

*East India Comedy in conversation with Raja Sen on ‘Importance of giving Offence’ 

*AIB team in conversation with Vasan Bala on ‘AIB vs the movies’

*Terribly Tiny Tales and Adhiraj Bose on ‘Telling a Short Story’ 

*The Logical Indian team with Omung Kumar, Ananth Mahadevan and Anand Pandit on ‘How to make a sincere statement in a world of cynicism and sarcasm’ and 

*Bollywood Gandu and Anisha Rickshawali in conversation with Raja Sen on ‘Split Personality’.

“IFP is a community of 5.5 lakh film enthusiasts from over 20 countries. In six years of this challenge of making a film in 50 hours, more than 40,000 filmmakers from 260+ cities across India and 19 other countries have participated and made 3300+ films,” says Ritam Bhatnagar. Versatile filmmakers like Shyam Benegal, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Shoojit Sircar, Hansal Mehta, Nikhil Advani, Ketan Mehta, Vikramaditya Motwane, Raja Sen, Sanjay Gadhvi, Umesh Shukla, Omung Kumar, Onir, Bejoy Nambiar and many others have been part of jury in the previous five editions.

When asked what he aims to achieve through this initiative, Ritam said, “Filmmaking in India is under-rated. We are still a ‘Photo-loving’ country. We are a country of story-tellers and what is better than telling your story through a film? People still think of filmmaking as a hobby rather than a career option. With IFP, we are trying to take filmmaking to all ages. We have people as young as 5 to as old as 75 who participate every year, and these are the people who thought that they would never make a film. With introduction of mobile filmmaking this year, we even had housewives to school kids to corporate professionals being part of this.”

“Even though filmmaking is a celebrated thing in India, in a lot of other countries, people make films for themselves. They do not have access to proper film education as well. Even after opening the doors, a big pie of participation comes from India,” explained Ritam about the competition opening doors to foreign participation form 2014. The films are judged separately for each category. For mobile and amateur filmmaking category, emphasis is laid on story-telling while for professional filmmaking category, more importance is given to the production quality. 

And what opportunities would the winners get? “At IFP, we do not believe in giving away gadgets or cash prizes. Winners at IFP this year will get a chance to work with Nestle and create an ad film for them,” said Ritam Bhatnagar.
Lahari Basu

Lahari Basu

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