Give it a short

Updated: Apr 24, 2020, 10:15 IST | Sukanya Datta | Mumbai

Budding filmmakers, director Onir has a shoot-at-home challenge for you. The winner gets to work on his next project


A story of child sexual abuse told through the metaphor of a sealed window; a little girl addressing the confines of societal expectations while playing hopscotch; and a sensual portrayal of a poem by Fahmida Riyaz. These are some of the many shorts that budding filmmakers have been sending Onir, in response to the film-making challenge he started a month ago. No big budget, scenic locations or fancy techniques; these shorts are created by participants at home, using minimal equipment.

"Since so many people get in touch with me about working in films, I thought, 'Why not have a filmmaking challenge?' It gives people something positive to do during this time and acts as a platform for new talent. I discussed the idea with Sanjay Suri [with whom Onir runs Anticlock Films], and we started off," says the director.

The format is simple. "You shoot a two-minute film based on the theme of the week, following lockdown norms, and send it to us. Every Sunday, I announce the week's challenge and on Mondays, I announce the winners of the previous week," shares Onir. Once the lockdown ends, the director of the overall best film will get to work on the production house's next project. Responses have been pouring in from across the world, he says. "What's lovely is that people wait for the themes. We also got on board guest judges like Sandhya Mridul, Amit Sadh, Hansal Mehta and Shakun Batra." So far, there have been themes like khidki, freedom, border and tomorrow. "The themes are a channel to provide context and ensure it's something that can be done in a closed space. But it's up to the makers to interpret it. It's interesting how makers are interpreting the themes to address issues like domestic violence," he adds.

One of Onir's favourite entries is a short by Puducherry-based cinematographer Jeremy Carroll. "His film was about a journey in a small boat and deals with the theme of the border between life and death. It is such a creative interpretation," says the director. His tip for participants:

"Don't fret about delivering a message through your film. Just tell a story you believe in."

Log on to anticlock_films on Instagram for more details

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