ISFFI 2010, the much awaited 4th International Short Film Festival of India took off on a solemn note on the 20th of March at Albert Theatres, Chennai in the presence of Mr. Parithi Ellamvazhuthi, the honorable Minister for Information, Government of Tamil Nadu and a number of other dignitaries. Seventy short films from across the globe were screened during the two day festival and thousands of film lovers took part in the festival.
The inaugural ceremony began with the honourable minister of information, declaring open ISFFI 2010. After the words of welcome by Mr. Raviraj, the Head of the Department of Direction, MGR Film Institute the dignitaries on the dias were felicitated and presented with a ISFFI memento. The other guests of honour who participated in the inaugural ceremony were Rev. Joe Andrew, the Vice President of Don Bosco Institutions, Cinematographer & Filmmaker Rajiv Menon, Film Director & Editor B. Lenin, Director & Scriptwriter E. Ramadoss, Director Babu Sivan, Director Badri, Actor Arun Vijay, Actor Shakthi Vasu, Actor Mahendran and Mrs. Jayashree Ravindran, Director of Ability Foundation, Chennai.
The Honourable Minister Mr. Parithi Ellamvazhuthi in his inaugural address highlighted how the shift has taken place from producing 3 hours feature films to 10 minutes short films. He affirmed that short films and short filmmakers should be promoted and encouraged and that the initiative of DBICA to promote such initiatives is highly laudable. He exhorted all the visual media students to venture into making short films that will benefit the public and communicate powerful messages to the society.
Rajiv Menon, the noted Cinematographer & Filmmaker in his message stressed that cinema was not a fairy tale telling business, but depended much upon content that is realistic and close to the common man. He cited the example of the recent blockbuster hindi movie ‘Three Idiots’ which was based on a book, and it reached the audience for its realistic story treatment without adding much of cinematic elements. He advised and encouraged all young film makers and students to become ‘creators’, by reading and writing good stuff in media, both creatively and technically and affirmed that a short film festival of this sort could be a very good learning experience for all.
Rev. Fr. Joe Andrew, the Vice President of the Don Bosco Institutions, who himself is a short film maker highlighted that Short films were the best medium to convey and communicate to the masses. Shorter the films and sharper the messages, greater the impact, was his message to the film makers and students. Actor Arun Vijay in his message expressed that a short film festival of this sort is a clear indication that a new era of cinema was coming up, which is more story oriented and value based, and so a festival of this nature provides a venue for film makers and a impetus for beginners that could be a good learning and beginning for all film makers. Actor Shakthi Vasu happily recalled about his affinity to Don Bosco Institution, talking about his school days and remarked that it was a happy coincidence that cinema and Don Bosco had offered him an opportunity to participate in the short film festival.
Two new productions of DBICA, a short film “Mannum Sivanthathu” based on the struggles of the Tamil people in Srilanka and an audio album of 12 cds titled “Ulaga Varalattril Indru” highlighting the important day to day events of world history was released by the honourable minister of information Mr. Parithi Ellamvazhuthi. The inaugural ceremony concluded with the vote of thanks by Ronald Doggett, the ISFFI festival coordinator. The first day of screening commenced soon after the inaugural ceremony and more than 30 shorts were screened. The festival provided a very good platform for interaction among the students, film makers, film lovers and public.
The second day of the International Short Film Festival continued with momentum generated on the previous day with the screening of more than 40 shorts to all the film lovers gathered in the Albert Theatre. A lot of interactions with the film makers who participated in the festival added more meaning and relevance to the festival and to the film lovers gathered.
ISFFI reached it’s climax with the Award ceremony held at 5pm in the presence of some distinguished guests from the Government and the media industry – Mr. Kamaraj IAS, Director of Information & Public Relations, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, Director R.K. Selvamani, Director Shanmugasundaram, Actor Srikanth, Music Directors S. A. Raj Kumar and A.R. Rehana.
The ISFFI festival director Fr. Harris welcomed the gathering and spoke of the objectives of ISFFI. He was optimistic about the growth of ISFFI and pledged to move towards making ISFFI the most loved short film festivals of Chennai. He also thanked the Department of Information, Government of Tamil Nadu for the collaboration and support towards the festival. Mr. Kamaraj in his message expressed his joy to have collaborated in the organization of the festival and lauded the efforts of DBICA in making it happen for the fourth consecutive year. While affirming that the Government was committed to promoting these type of festivals, he warmly invited the students of media to capitalize these opportunities as moments of great learning.
Actor Srikanth, while speaking on short films expressed that often a long message, doesn’t convey its entire content and instead a short film presented creatively in less than a minute achieves its purpose and that needs to be very much appreciated. Contacting filmmakers and getting 419 entries from 29 countries was not an easy task, and short listing 70 entries and providing the short film makers with an opportunity to showcase their work was something unique. These moments can offer them greater visibility, encouragement and learning for their career.
Music director A. R. Rehana also shared her own experiences in short film making and Ad making, and wished all the short filmmakers greater success in all their creations. Music Director Mr. S. A. Raj Kumar, highlighted how a well written screenplay can make a powerful impact, even if it be a small phrase such as “Kanden Sithaiai” the famous statement of Hanuman to Rama, in the epic Ramayana. So too, short films in their shortness can communicate effectively, when packed in capsules containing right messages for the society.
The crowning moment of festival was the declaration of the ISFFI awards, which came after a thorough scrutiny, by the board of Jury, comprising Mrs. T.R. Omana, Mr. B. Lenin, Mr. R V. Uthayakumar, Mr. V M Raviraj, Mr. A Jayaprakash, Mr. Hadwin and Mr. Richard Prasad. The Spanish short film “Porque Hay Cosa Que Nunca Se Olividan” (Because there are things you never forget) by Lucas Figueroa got the first place, while “Nino Balcon” (Balcony boy) by Pilar Palomero from Spain and “Day Before Yesterday” by Patricia Chica from Canada bagged the second and third places respectively. Among the national entries, the first place was awarded to “Nadantha Kathai” by Pon Sudha from Andhra Pradesh, the short film “Not Born Heroes” by Vishesh Mankal from New Delhi and the short film “Circle” by Santosh Ram from Maharashtra, won the second and third place respectively.
The short film “Unconditional Love” by R. Navanetha Krishnan from Chennai secured the award for best Editing, “Appa Vanthar” by Venkatesh Babu from Chennai for best cinematography, “The Stiches Speak” by Nina Sabnani from Gujarat for best creativity, “The Jail” from West Bengal by Abhijit Dasgupta for best screen play and “Smile Please” by Irfan from Chennai was awarded the Audience Choice award. Among the Special awards, the best Animation short film was given to “Topi” from USA by Arjun Rihan and the best documentary film award was given to “The Jail” from West Bengal by Abhijit Dasgupta.
The collaborators of ISFFI were also specially felicitated, namely the Manager of Albert Theatres, Mr. Mariappan and the PRO of ISFFI Mr. Sadiq. The Joint director of ISFFI Rev. John Peter congratulated the award winners, thanked the chief guests, collaborators, global festival partners and filmmakers. The short “Porque Hay Cosa Que Nunca Se Olividan” which won the first place was then screened. The festival Coordinator Ronald Doggett, invited all the film makers to continue to collaborate and support ISFFI 2011, which is expected to be held in January, next year. ISFFI concluded with the national Anthem.
ISFFI 2010 made a breakthrough this year in a big way, because of her global partners like The End of the Pier International Film Festival, International Film Festival for Children and Youth, Encounters Short Film Festival, Kimauk Festival, Telus Worldwide Short Film Festival, Canadian Film centre’s Worldwide Short Film festival, Canada, Indee.tv and Ability Foundation who contributed to the success of the festival. No doubt, ISFFI 2010 in its 4th edition, has offered a unique glimpse into the most recent short-film productions from across the globe for young directors and budding film makers of the country. The two day festival was indeed a treat to the Chennaite film lovers.