Short film entries by women filmmakers are the buzz this month with International Woman's Day round the corner. As we gear up for a new year full of promises, more and more women are turning to film making to express age-old concerns and share tales spun from their imagination.
While female directors in Bollywood are far and few in between, India does have a few successful women filmmakers like Mira Nair, Aparna Sen, Gurinder Chadda, Deepa Mehta, Meghna Gulzar and Farhan Khan in the otherwise male dominated film industry. Although making a full-length feature film is an expensive economic and intellectual venture, with the decreased cognitive and financial cost of making a short film today, it has become possible for young students to experiment with film making as a medium. The appeal of this multi-sensorial, multi-media expression tool has seen an unprecedented surge in the number of students opting for film courses or submitting films as assignments. For instance, Alisha Attarwala, a college student from Ahmedabad made a film on the lives of beggars in Ahmedabad. She says, "the beggars were curious about the camera and the novelty factor helped us break the ice with them". But film making projects are now itching their way into school level as well. "I made a short film on the need to educate the girl child as part of a Grade 10 project and found the medium an engaging and meaningful way to interact with under-privileged girl", says Krina Prajapati a student of Mahatma Gandhi International School. She feels that "these small efforts do make a difference at the local level especially when we couple it with long term action."
With more short films being made, there was a need to screen them. A story narrated must be heard! Notably since last year, Ahmedabad is a happening place to be for short filmmakers with the Ahmedabad International Film Festival, Shamiana and Chitra Katha in addition to the well established film clubs of the city offering a wonderful platform to share and screen films. Way to go Amdavad!
Published in the March issue of Shamiana Shorts 2010.