At the height of the Great Depression, a showman of a renowned circus leads his troupe through a devastated American landscape, lifting the spirits of audiences along the way. During their travels they discover Will — a man without limbs at a carnival sideshow. But after an intriguing encounter with the showman, he becomes driven to hope against everything he has ever believed.
This is the theme of the popular short film Butterfly Circus, which kicked off the second Guwahati International Short Film Festival. The three-day festival was inaugurated at the District Library auditorium this evening.
Directed by Joshua Weigel, the 20-minute film starring Nick Vujicic — an Australian preacher and motivational speaker who was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterised by the absence of all four limbs — enthralled the audience who attended the inauguration.
Over 15 million people have now seen the film worldwide. After winning numerous awards, Joshua is currently working to expand the short film into a full-length feature film.
The organisers had earlier decided to inaugurate the festival with the screening of Bikash Ranjan Misra’s short film, Naach Ganesh (Dance of Ganesha) but because of technical difficulties, they decided to screen Butterfly Circus, which was followed by director Girish Kasaravalli’s 20-minute film, Awashesh.
Awashesh tells the story of Hari — a neglected and isolated little boy. With all the members of the house busy with their chores, he is not able to play hide and seek with others. Granny, the eldest member of the family, is also neglected and not cared for. In the evening, Hari goes to the temple but does not meet any friends. Ignored by his parents at night, he goes to Granny who showers affection on him.
Veteran film director Munin Barua, who inaugurated the festival, said the festival would inspire upcoming directors. “These short films will help other films. I hope that upcoming filmmakers will be benefited from it. We expect more films from the organisers,” Barua said.
The festival is organised by Creovaent Productions. A song titled Changes are Sold by Lucid Recess was also released at the event .
“When we started the festival last year, we got a very good response. This time we have very good films and hope audiences will enjoy it,” the festival director said.
The festival features packages of short films from France and Spain. Short films from the UK, Netherlands, US, Australia, Argentina, Iran and from all over India will also be screened during the festival.
“I am particularly thrilled with the horror film package that we have brought to the screen this time,” said the festival’s founder Pritish Chakraborty.
The special attraction of the festival will be the Northeast premiere of Onir’s national award-winning film, I Am, in the presence of the director. The film has won the national award for best Hindi feature film and best lyrics.
In keeping with the initiative to provide a platform for filmmakers from the region, the organisers have also set up a competition for short films of the Northeast. Eleven films, selected from a large number of entries received from all over the region have been selected for screening. The films were selected by a preview jury, which had noted theatre and film personality Nayan Prasad as its chairman.