Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Taking films to the beach... and beyond

Bring Your Own Film Festival is a fascinating concept from the eastern Indian state of Orissa. Organisers explain it thus: "For a while some of us,a motley bunch of film makers, felt the need for some free space where independent film makers could gather and show their work to each other, exchange thoughts, ideas, information and experiences. True, there are a few film festivals with such opportunities, but mainly in the oppressive atmosphere of big cities and sometimes under the cloud of a bureaucratic government machinery. No place where we could let our hair down and just be ourselves. So we zeroed in on PURI, for a start we decided to have a film festival right on the beach. After an initial reccee we found the place ideally suited for our purpose." They going on to make a more crucial point -- that "the current scenario of independent film making in India (particularly for documentaries) is in a state of flux". They feel that such attempts made by film makers themselves "will go a long way in giving a boost to the cause of the small, independent documentary, short fiction and feature films". BYOFF says it is also an attempt to take the ‘independent film’ to smaller places, outside of the big cities. We would specially like to encourage younger film makers, who find it difficult to find platforms for themselves." This is an "open-ended five-day" event with some screenings in the night. It works in a simple style: "Participants will mail us about their intention to come and if they are bringing films, they will inform us about the duration and format of the films. We request even those who would like to come but are not sure yet about their ability to attend, to inform us so that we can anticipate the numbers." This year's event was from February 16 to 20. BTW, their blog is here.

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