School Cinema, an Edumedia venture, has been producing and screening films since 2010. The group currently screens their films — which cover topics ranging from puberty to corruption — in 350 schools across the country as part of the curriculum.
But this summer, they decided to set up a film board in the city. “This is our way of giving back to a medium that has served us so well for so many years,” explains Tabassum Modi, executive director, Edumedia. Apart from promoting a market for short films, Modi also hopes that setting up the board will help improve the content children are exposed to these days.
The School Cinema Film Board is being launched with an activity keeping Edumedia’s educational background in mind. The board members, filmmaker Vikramaditya Motwane, actors Revathy, Jaaved Jaaferi, Rohini Hattangadi, and film critic Rajeev Masand will judge a short film contest (titled ‘My 1st Short Film Contest’) for students below the age of 16 years. The children have five topics to choose from (see box) and can take all summer long to work on their one to five minute films.
“The idea is to encourage children to use the medium of cinema to express themselves. Several schools in the city introduce children to filmmaking through media studies classes. But there are many students who aren’t exposed to the medium as yet. We want to encourage these children to teach themselves through the Internet. There are several tutorials available on YouTube, which break down and explain the process of production and post-production,” says Modi. The contest, she hopes, will give the children an incentive to introduce themselves to something new.
While winners of the contest are being promised prizes worth Rs 1 lakh, Modi has bigger ideas in mind. “Several faculty members as well as parents have told us that their children are producing fabulous films of their own. If we find this to be true, judging from the entries we receive, we will definitely ensure the children receive a larger platform,” adds Modi, hoping to host a festival in the future and screen the winning films for a larger audience.