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A cut above the rest

A short film festival in Chembur would not feature very highly on most people’s list of ‘things to do’ for the weekend. However, Cut.in isn’t just another film festival. It is probably the best showcase of all the latent talent in some of the country’s best filmmaking schools. Consider it a sort of sneak preview of the filmmakers who are about to take the country by storm. All in a state-of-the-art auditorium nestled in the quiet and picturesque campus of Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). Miss it at your own peril.

Ashok Patel
 Ashok Patel with his dance tutor in a still from the film Vayro

Cut.in is the endeavour of the School of Media and Cultural Studies (SMCS) wing of TISS, and in its fifth edition, it promises to be bigger than ever before. Pratik Bhakta, event coordinator, says, “This year the festival received close to 70 entries from students of diploma, graduate and postgraduate programmes in film and media affiliated with institutions across India, including NID Ahmedabad, LV Prasad Chennai, Jamia Millia Delhi and FTII Pune. Thirty two films under the categories of Short Fiction (under 45 minutes) and Short Documentary (under 45 minutes) have been selected for screening. Our jury members, including documentary filmmakers Anik Ghosh and Aviji Mukul Kishore, will select winners in the various categories.”

Within the festival there is also a special competition on the “issue of the commons”, which refers to the natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including air, water, and a habitable earth. Bhakta explains the objective of this competition — “We want to encourage citizens to protect, preserve and manage their common cultural and natural resources. The competition is actually being managed by the Foundation for Ecological Security which is located within the TISS campus itself.”

The festival over the past four years has developed a sound identity and a significant amount of credibility among film students from around the country. Filmmaker Samridhi Dasot considers Cut.in to be incredibly important to her transition from amateur to professional filmmaker. “Not many festivals feature short films and even fewer showcase the talents of amateur filmmakers. This will be a great platform to get an audience for the work we have done,” says Dasot, whose short film Dimond Band, about a brass band in Ahmedabad, will be screened at the festival. Aashini Shah, whose short documentary film Vayro, about three senior citizens learning English, dance and computers to get closer to their children, has been shortlisted for Cut.in, seconds Dasot’s opinion. “A film festival like this gives us the opportunity to network with some of our peers. It also gives us more perspective about other filmmakers of our generation and the work they are doing.”

On: Today, 9.30 am to 7.30 pm
At: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, VN Purav Marg, Chembur  

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