Suman Ghosh on why ebioscope could be the future for filmmakers
The film starts with a quotation from Shakespeare, which says that we are all actors on life’s stage and we are just enacting our own ‘scripts’. The protagonist of the film is a script thief whose passion is to steal other people’s scripts. There is a script library where he keeps all his stolen scripts carefully and occasionally he uses the scripts of others’ lives in exchange of his own script. Thus begins the wonderful short film Scripted by Abhijit Paul. The film is smart, crisp and clearly elucidates the maker’s novelty in storytelling.
The above film is part of eBioscope, the first international Bangla short film festival organised by Priya Entertainment, Bonglix.com and Magic and Miracles. The website of the film festival is ebioscope.com. Originally some 80 films were submitted out of which 20 were voted by the audience to qualify for the final cut. These chosen 20 were judged by a panel of judges out of which the top three got the award.
Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Q and myself constituted the panel of judges and that’s how I got to see some wonderful films.
Many aspiring filmmakers from different backgrounds had submitted their films and the audience who viewed these on Bongflix.com were Bengalis all over the world from 19 countries — from Oman to the US.
Scripted was adjudged the best film, and the runner-up was Batik o Biggyapon, another cracker of a film, directed by Sourav Chakraborty. It is a political/ psychological thriller, which is brilliantly acted, shot and has an unbelievably good background score.
Of course not all the films were of this standard and I must confess that some were pretty mediocre. But nonetheless one does expect to find only a handful of gems amongst many. That’s the purpose of such a democratic platform for cinema. It is indeed a global platform for showcasing upcoming Bengali talent.
It is interesting to note the composition of the filmmakers. Abhijit Paul is a post-graduate in fine arts (painting) from Vadodara who is currently an assistant professor in South Gujarat University. He specialises in video installation and Scripted is his first film. On the other hand Sourav Chakraborty, the director of the Batik o Biggyapon, is a television actor of repute in Bengal who also has his own drama group. Saptarshi Paul, whose film Pain was the second runner-up, is an English honours student.
Then there are others who have left their engineering profession to make films, or many advertising professionals who want to direct feature films. Of course there were many film school students who want to make a mark through these short films.
Finally, what I want to stress is the importance of such an event. First of all, online viewing is the future of the entertainment industry. That model is being confirmed in the West and soon it will be the same here in India.
Thus, the fact that this festival was online is in fact a pointer to the future of the industry. The diverse Bengali viewership from all over the world who actually paid to see this festival augurs well for the cash- strapped Bengali film industry. And also from the filmmakers’ point here is an excellent avenue for them to showcase their talent.
This will give them enough leeway to approach producers who are seeking to finance good films, which make a mark either artistically or commercially. Who knows, maybe Abhijit Paul or Sourav Chakraborty is a Q or Srijit Mukherji in the making. We shall eagerly look forward to that.
[eBioscope was a two-month online festival of Bengali short films that was available online to viewers from across the world. Viewers got to vote the top 20 which were screened at Priya and Bioscope from January 15 to 17 while the jury comprising Suman Ghosh, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and Q decided on the top three]
Correction: The word ‘definition’ was incorrectly spelt on Page 10 in the January 23 edition of t2. We regret the error.