Sushama Datar (9822620904, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Being amongst creative young people, that too who are socially aware is always a treat for many of us. I had an opportunity of that pleasure during the whole process of organization and conclusion of Yuva Nirman Short Film Festival 2014. This Festival was organized by Yuva Nirman and Snehalaya-Ahmednagar, to celebrate anniversary of "Satyamav Jayate Divas" i.e. 1st May. (Many know the connection between Snehalaya and Amir Khan's 1st season of TV series "Satyamev Jayate"). Yuva Nirman Short Film Festival 2014 was open to all young Film Directors between 15 to 30 years of age, residing in India. The short film were made after 1st January’ 2012. They were maximum 15 minutes duration and some were as brief as 2 minutes. Films were entered under five themes. i.e. 1. Challenges for Women in India. 2. Issues of Children of today. 3. Corruption. 4. Environment, a Global challenge. 5. Youth Initiatives for Constructive Change.
There was good response from young film makers, basically from Nagar College (Mass com dept.) and from other places too. There were 52 entries. Some even requested just a screening at festival, since the film maker did not fit in to the rules of the festival. The enthusiasm was not a surprise for me. Now a day, short film making is very popular among young people. Camera, editing, sound recording technology is at hand for them. Even mobile phones are used for making films. People as young as 7-10 years are enthusiastically making films. Internet is providing them with vast amount of films to watch and learn from and get motivated. There are many aided and private degree/diploma level communication-media courses, film making courses. Hence there are abundant student-films being produced as part of the course work or as expressive experiments by amateurs. It is used by many as stepping stone to jump in to mainstream fiction-film making. Many from various walks of life are making short films to break the monotony of their work or fulfill their creative urge. Many young people along with NGOs are giving this medium in the hands of deprived communities and individuals for expression of their problems/hardships, which helps in increasing general awareness about social issues and helps the creators to understand their own plight and ways to find solutions to the problems/issues. Now it's an often used community medium of communication. All these aspects got reflected in the entries received for this festival.
Since I have been following this trend for last many years, I was drawn in to the organization of this festival and eventually became part of the jury panel too. Out of 52 entries, large numbers of entries were about "Issues of Children of today". Then came "Challenges for Women in India" and "Environmental issues". There was negligible number for "Corrupion" and "youth initiative". Most except "Shooter" and to certain extent "Thembe Thembe, Qurban, Vrutti" many were not technically polished. Yet most were focused and displayed variety of themes. Most of the themes were from team's own environment; hence films looked "genuine" and not "phony or pretentious". 30 selected films were screened on 30th May. We had an informal chat with some of the film makers and their teams, in the morning of 1st May.
1st May evening saw well attended award function. Choice of "Shooter" by Tejas Joshi from Kalyan as a winner was unanimous. It talked about various kinds of violence (real, reel and verbal) in children's environment and its impact on them, while telling a smartly written and presented story of a specific child-son of a police constable and a stay at home mother."Vrutti"by Priyanka Satpute of Nagar talked about child labor and hypocrisy of politicians and was well crafted."Bhangarwale" was about a single father and his little daughter's plight while he carried her everywhere going around town.It also talked about inherent goodness in children."Anukaran" was a humorous take on teenage boy and his copying 'love life' of his older brother. "Kar Bhala" by Biswanath Rath from Chennai had simple message of "Help others and someone helps you "told through simple story of everyday/contemporary incidence using well cast characters, film touched the hearts. "Murali me Devachi" by Dadasaheb Shelake of Nagar came out of his own observations of unjust Murali tradition. "Chalees Foot" by Hemant Autade of Pune talked about problems of abandoned bore wells, discrimination among son-daughter, corruption to hide the culprits/silence the victim."Dahdas" though a bit 'filmy' talked about raped woman's courage. "Qurban" Ajay Oraon/ amana Jahan- from Jharkhand was about rag picker children and "vihir galli" by Sandeep Medhe of Nashik were only documentaries. The later stood out as real youth initiative-people reviving a well in their locality which had become a garbage dump, recorded as it happened. "Cut the rope" and "Donation box" by Manish Gupta of Gorakhpur were only animation films received. They had social messages. "Thembe Thembe" by Vishal Kumbhar of Bhandup Bhandup was beautifully shot,almost a rerality record of scarcity of water and plight of children." Paani" by Rangnath Ubale of Nagar gave same message using different method. "Paanch Rupaye" by Akshay Ware of Shirur was a humorous take on cheating with a pleasant twist at the end. "Tee" by Purnima Panchal of Malad recorded a day in a life of a working woman in a city to tell us how it's a thankless job.