Pune and The Short Film Bug

One of man’s greatest inventions is perhaps, motion filming cameras and everyone in their own way thanks and blesses Mr. Inventor. Motion filming cameras have surely made life easier at home, bringing the technology from the boxy camera back then to the tiny powerful camera on your smartphone in your pocket,  filming memories and preserving them and bought visuals of live events to your doorstep hence ditching tuning the FM Radio for similar content. It has also opened avenues for youngsters who realize that filmmaking is one of their likings and can now pursue them wholeheartedly given the academic courses offered in educational institutions.
Filmmaking has grown at a rapid rate and the mantra of the new age generation is to make a short film to showcase your skills and get opportunities to eventually making it big. Short films are definitely in vogue today and are produced by everyone. Christopher Nolan, the director screen writer and producer behind some of the best films of the 21st century like Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, etc. began his filmmaking journey with a short film called ‘Doodlebug’ which lasted for 3 minutes but would surely make you think for the next 30 minutes!
“Short films have opened up a whole different world for filmmakers. It is a great way to make films with minimal resources and challenge themselves to tell stories in that short a duration” – adds Ashish Pillai, creative producer at LMB Productions, a production house that does audio-visual work ranging from corporate to adventure and experimental films.

A shoot in progress at LMB
A shoot in progress at LMB

Our city also has an appreciative film community and ergo isn’t bereft of talent or content. Hosting a number of events, competitions and sessions revolving around short films, the community has a healthy following and Nipun Dharmadhikari, a reputed name in the drama and film industry from Pune, tells us why, “Since FTII and many other film and media institutes are in Pune, the city organically has a rich short-film community scene. Shorts by Umesh Kulkarni or Vikrant Pawar have also won National awards apart from getting selected at and winning many international and short film festivals.”
Although short films seek for audiences through festivals that are local, national or international, the times have changed all thanks to the free internet. Now with the power of internet and social media, there are a number of websites that quench the hunger of short film enthusiasts and short film producers alike. Frequent competitions bring out the best of the best content and are widely accepted. Apart from competitions, websites like vimeo, shortoftheweek, etc. are brimming with content from all around the globe and throughout the year.
“While it had been seen simply as a stepping stone on the route to making feature length films, short films seem to be becoming the go to for aspiring filmmakers everywhere. Since short films are based on incidents rather than stories, it is a great way for storytellers to hone their skills. The best part about making a short film is it contains all the problems, pains and frustrations and also the sense of creation, and intense passion in one small pill – making it a worthy precursor to the silver screen, although it is quickly becoming a prominent form in itself.” – adds Virajas Kulkarni, an aspiring filmmaker.
Rishi Deshpande, a short film enthusiast from Pune says, “I like watching short films as they are a no frills and straight to the point medium of communication. Also, it is easier to connect with short films as I have found them to be set in more realistic settings and dealing with day to day incidences and problems that we normal people face regularly, as compared to full length films.”
A start-studded event.
A star-studded event.

Pune hosts the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) every year which features short films as well as long feature films. Pune Short Film Festival takes place every year too. The 13th Edition of PIFF was held at City Pride Kothrud from 8th January 2015 to 15th January 2015 and saw 12 student entries with one entry from DSK Supinfocom, Pune along with international entries.
However, contrary to all that’s aforesaid, here’s what Siddharth Kulkarni a filmmaker and an artist has to say, “I feel Pune’s short film community has no structure. There’s initiative everywhere, but nobody studies shorts enough, not even film course students. The local fests are mind-numbing. It’ll take  overall discipline and dedication for the scene to change. And makers should know that lesser duration doesn’t make it easier to make.”
So whether you love it or hate it, short films are here to stay and the city definitely seems to be embracing that.
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