In an effort to soften the impact of the surge in Coronavirus pandemic in the country, Carrot Films announced the Lockdown Film Festival, with the conviction that the time of lockdown was ideal to unlock the creativity of aspiring & emerging filmmakers. The theme of the film festival was to document stories of common people dealing with the pandemic & their perspective of the ongoing situation.
The Minister for Information & Broadcasting Shri Prakash Javadekar also applauded their efforts by sending them a note of appreciation, for organizing a film festival that provides a platform for young talent.
The conclusion of the festival saw overwhelming entries out of which 20 films shortlisted by an eminent jury consisting of film industry professionals-Sharmila Tagore, Ratna Pathak Shah, Prahlad Kakar, Adil Hussain, Ken Ghosh, Nivedita Basu, Gautam Rode, Hiten Tejwani, Modhura Palit, Ida Ali and Iqbal Niyazi. Filmmaker Aparna Sen is the chairperson of the Jury.
Veteran filmmaker Aparna Sen shared, "I was extremely delighted at the innovativeness of the films submitted. It was a test of creativity for the filmmakers to be able to do this within the confines of their homes and really, I had a hard time judging the entries."
Padma Bhushan awardee and two times National award winner Sharmila Tagore sums up her role and says, "It's been a positive and fun-filled experience during the lockdown. The thinking & execution part was very good. I've really enjoyed and liked all the films. Well done!"
Widely acclaimed black-comedy Lipstick Under My Burkha's actress Ratna Pathak Shah said, "I enjoyed these films very much. Imaginative, interesting, different from each other, and not letting limitations get in the way. They were a very reassuring experience for me - proof that we may soon make good films regularly rather than occasionally. It was a rather daunting job though, as comparisons became inevitable. We had lively discussions in the jury and most of us wished we could have included more films."
With a view to making available the selected short films from the Lockdown Film Festival, Carrot Films is delighted that National Film Development Corporation will enable streaming of the winning films from the film festival on www.cinemasofindia.com, which is NFDC's homegrown OTT platform.
National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) India leveraged its diverse cinematic portfolio and the advent of digital distribution, to create its own OTT (over-the-top) platform www.cinemasofindia.com in 2012.
Cinemas of India stream the corporation's classic titles. With the greatest number of award-winning, critically acclaimed films on OTT, - the platform is representative of Indian independent cinema, and independent filmmakers that NFDC through its many endeavours continue to mentor, support and uphold.
Besides global players, Cinemas of India is a platform with home-grown content. It lets you watch all NFDC's indie films & acquired content, much of which isn't available anywhere else. It offers a decent mix of shorts, documentaries and features. Available on Premium subscription of Rs 149 for a month & Rs 599 for a year for all content (SVoD) or title can be rented for Rs 60 each for 72 hours (TVoD). Cinemas of India has not only emerged to be another platform to consume content but has also raised the bar to provide a platform for independent filmmakers.
Smt TCA Kalyani, Joint Secretary Films (Ministry of I&B) & Managing Director NFDC India, also shared her views on the collaboration. "These films reaffirmed that 'creativity cannot be locked down' no matter what. There is so much untapped talent in India alone and by giving these films a platform we want to recognize their value. Each day I focus on new ways to operate and expand my own role to fit in new filmmakers and the Independent content creator's priorities. These are times for innovative opportunities and we have to look for ways to grow the industry and become more efficient," she said.
In line with the mandate of the organization, NFDC's OTT is now a streaming partner for The Lockdown Film Festival's selection of 20 short films that have won the jury's approval.
Swarnendu Bose, Festival Director, Lockdown Film Festival, Carrot Films- shared the thought behind organizing the Lockdown Film Festival and said, "The idea behind the Lockdown Film Festival was simple, to activate the creative note among people in this pandemic. Lockdown was becoming stressful and boring for people out there. Even for us. That's when we thought of starting this one of a kind film festival. However, we didn't think it would take such a big shape as it did and we were overwhelmed with responses. This festival was made a success by people who joined forces to promote the art of storytelling. The biggest giveaway for me is how families came together to tell a story, so impactfully. I thank each and every member of this big family who came together to make this festival what it is. More so, I am extremely thankful to NFDC for collaborating with us for streaming the shortlisted films on their OTT platform Cinemasofindia.com. I am sure this will be a great platform for all the filmmakers."
Carrot Films also collaborated with eminent members of the film industry such as R Balki, Piyush Pandey, Parambrata Chatterjee, Kubbra Sait, Sona Mahapatra, Sawan Dutta, RJ Archana, Indraneil Sengupta, Anubhav Singh Bassi, RJ Khurrafati Nitin, Sushma Seth and Karan Singh Magic for preparing motivational video messages to encourage participants in these challenging times.
20 new microfilms, with a duration of around three minutes each, from the Lockdown Film Festival, will be available for viewing on www.cinemasofindia.com from this month (4 July 2020) onwards for free.