It was a glorious moment, to see ISFFI unfurling it’s sixth edition and setting momentum to the two day short film festival, that kickstarted at Shree Annai Abirami Theatre in Abirami Mega Mall on the 17th of March at 10 am in the presence of a number of distinguished guests. The guests of honour who graced the occasion were Mr. Abirami Ramanathan, Mr. Gnana Rajasekaran, Director SS Stanley, Director Brinda Sarathy, Director Nanda Periyasamy, Director Saravana Subaiya and Director Kulandai Velapppan.

The festival took off with the lighting of the traditional lamp by dignitaries, followed by the words of welcome by the festival director Fr. Harris. After the felicitations, Mr. Abirami Ramanathan, the Managing director of Abirami Theatres Private Ltd, and President of Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owner’s Federation and Chennai City Film Exhibitor’s Association in his inaugural address congratulated DBICA for creating a platform for short films and appreciated the film directors present for their fraternity towards the festival. He affirmed that these festivals provided a unique opportunity to film makers and students to develop their creativity and scripting styles. He concluded assuring the short film makers of his continued support for this novel initiative.

Mr. Gnana Rajasekaran IAS and Director cum Dean of Sivaji Ganesan Film Institute while addressing the audience appreciated the consistent effort of DBICA in taking forward the Short Film Festival for the sixth time. He clarified the notion of Short films, and he explained how the story, screenplay and the narrative structure of short films could be treated to bring out the best within the short span of time. He insisted that media students should explore more on creative writing and quality thinking, before visualizing the creative idea.

Mr. SS Stanley, noted film maker proudly acknowledged as DBICA’s constant collaborator in all media related novel initiatives, congratulated the ISFFI organizers for their perseverance in taking ISFFI to it’s sixth edition, despite the challenges they faced. He stated that Short films were also like entrance tests, giving the possibility to qualify oneself to enter into mainstream media and also join as assistants under veteran film makers. He also added that exposure, accessibility of equipment, digital convergence and low cost factors have been a big boon to students to enter into the world of media.

Mr. Saravana Subbaiah was in enthusiastic self, setting fire to the audience with a number of questions, interactions and wonderful insights from the epics, bible and so on. He gave several examples to explain the nuances in understanding the creative ideas of the great filmmakers, writers and scholars, and concluded, by motivating the young and amateur filmmakers to move towards greater achievements and laurels in the field of media.

Mr. Brindha Sarathy, noted script writer and director reiterated that quality in script writing could make the delivery powerful and convincing, and exhorted the film makers to give importance to quality writing.

Mr. Nandha Periyasamy, applauded the gesture of Mr. Abirami Ramanathan in giving his theatre for such a noble cause and that too in a week end. He affirmed that a good creative filmmaker should be a blend of several qualities like creativity, openness, dedication, perseverance, patience, and hard work, and that possessing them should be the challenge of the film makers.

This was followed by the official declaration of ISFFI 2012 by all the dignitaries after which the screening began with the ISFFI 2012 promo. The first day of the screening was spaced out in three shows in which around 29 shorts from various countries were screened. Many film makers from across the country who were present introduced their films and spoke of the rationale of their creations. The first day of screening concluded by 6 pm, and it witnessed an enthusiastic turnout of film lovers, talking and discussing about the short films they viewed, as they left the theatre.

The second day of ISFFI began with the next set of screening in which 27 shorts, spaced out in three shows culminated in the award ceremony at 4.30 pm. The big array of filmmakers – Director Lingusamy, Director Thambi Ramaiah, Director Mu. Kalanjiyam, Director Nanda Periyasamy, Director S. Ezhil, Director Balasekaran, Director Durai, Director R. Kannan, Director Kulandai Velapppan, Director A. Venkatesh, Director Seenu Ramasamy, Director S.P. Hosimin, Director Balaji Mohan, Director Ravi Maria and Director Bhimsingh Lenin, made the finale of ISFFI 2012 very memorable.

After the words of welcome by the festival director and felicitations, Mr. Bhimsingh Lenin, the noted film editor fondly called the big brother of DBICA gave his views from the point of view of jury. He appreciated the filmmakers for their wonderful creations and exhorted then to make films that can really transcend expectations and reflect high quality.

Mr. Thambi Ramayya, the multi faceted personality of the Tamil cinema industry and the National award winner addressed the young short filmmakers in his own unique style. He said that the pace of the world’s growth and development have forced many areas to become short, sweet and easily affordable. Hence the imminent challenge to short filmmakers is to produce the best within the stipulated time.

Mr. A. Venkatesh, while addressing the participants highlighted the new trends in the media industry and reiterated that short films served as a launching pad for any professional venture into film making, providing ample experience and confidence to the film makers.

Mr. Lingusamy, started his address on a very cheerful note, expressing his joy that such festivals to promote short films were a big avenue for young film directors and apprentices to learn and improve in their creative thinking.

Mr. Cheenu Ramasamy, the National award winner, congratulated the award winners and motivated the participants to make these occasions wonderful opportunities for learning. He lauded the efforts of DBICA for having continued such initiatives without commercial motives and did to the short film makers what the Tamil cinema industry should have done.

Director Durai while addressing the audience shared his personal experience of how he started his career with a short film and stepped into the cine industry. Actor cum director Ravi Maria was also in his best self, stating that Thiruvaluvar the great poet wrote scripts for short films and that from those two line kurals so many feature films were being made.

Mr. R. Kannan, the noted film maker expressed that short films had a great future, and that all assistants of the cine industry should watch these short films, and that film directors should encourage them to do so.

Director Ezhil, first congratulated the young filmmaker Balaji Mohan for his recent debut film, “Kaadhalil Sodhapuvadhu Eppadi…?” and encouraged the other fellow short filmmakers to come out with lot of creative ideas and quality scripts that can solicit greater openings for their career.

Mr. Mu Kalanjiyam, in his power packed speech explained how short films were always present from the beginning of cinema and also affirmed that the world famous movie “The Great Train Robbery” was conceived and developed as short film and the world best series by Charlie Chaplin were also of short stories.

The last among the dignitaries to convey their messages was director Balaji Mohan, who had already won an award at ISFFI in 2009. He motivated young filmmakers to confidently create inspiring stories and that opportunities would knock at their door, just as was his experience.

The crowning moment of festival was the declaration of the ISFFI 2012 awards, which were shortlisted by the board of Jury comprising of Mr. Bhimsingh Lenin – the noted film editor, Mr. R Dhanraj Balaji –
Head of Dept., S.R.M. Sivaji Ganesan Film Institute, Mr. Arun Gupta –
Senior Faculty, Film & Video Communication, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Mr. Brian M Jennings – Animation Specialist & Visual Effects, USA, Mr. Ramasamy Subramaniam – Dept. Sound – MGR Govt. Film & TV Institute, and Mr. John E – the noted Screenplay writer.

After distributing the participation certificates for the film makers present, the ISFFI 2012 awards were declared. In the international category, the Chinese short film “Shangai Love Market” directed by Craig Rosenthal got the first place, while the Spanish short film “Septiembre” directed by Julio De La Fuente and the German short film “Von Hunden und Pferden” directed by Thomas Stuber bagged the second and third places respectively. Under the foreign awards category, the best foreign short animated film was awarded to “Zeinek Gehiago Iraun” directed by Gregorio Muro from Spain and the best foreign docu- drama was awarded to the Italian film “La Terra Sopra Di Noi” directed by Cristian Scardigno.

Among the national entries, the first place was awarded to short film “The Tigers, they‘re all dead”, directed by Ms. Reema Sengupta, while “Chanda Ke Joote” directed by the Ektara Team and “Manju Pole…”, directed by Mr. Prasanth Kanathur bagged the second and third places respectively.

ISFFI awards 2012 were also special due to the number of category awards, given for the Indian entries. The best short animated film was given to Ms. Priyanka Shyam for the short film “The Other Side”. The best documentary was awarded to Mr. Abhijit Das Gupta for his “An Experience”. The best cinematography award was bagged by the cinematographer Pratap Nair for “Manju Pole…”. The best male actor award was given to Mr. Owais Safdar in Love Book and the best female actor award was also given to Ms. Arifa Zehra also for “Love Book” and the best child artist award was given to Master Viraj Patil for the film “Paytaan”. Mr. Narayan Parsuram bagged the best sound design award for “Baat Waahi Hai” and the Best Editing – Mr. Sathyaraj for the film “Mouna Viradham” and the best special visual effects was given to Ms. Nina Sabnani & Ms. Ketki Saxena for the film “Baat Waahi Hai”.

ISFFI 2012 made a breakthrough this year in a big way, because of the collaboration from International Business Houses like Promofest, Spain, Aug&Ohr Medien, Berlin, Kimauk, Spain, Filmakademie Baden-wuerttemberg, Berlin, Ecam – Madrid en Corto, Spain, Mailuki Films, Spain, and The House of Films, Spain and Media Production Houses like L.V. Prasad Film and TV Academy, Chennai, S.R.M. Sivaji Ganesan Film Institute, Chennai and Media partners like Big FM, NDTV Hindu, SS Television and Chennai Online and the venue partners Abirami Theatres Private Limited, Chennai.

The two day festival indeed provided a wonderful opportunity to the film lovers to cherish some of world’s best short films in Chennai.

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