When content is king
The country's largest content creation festival returns to Mumbai this weekend, and here's why you should be there
There is a trend that Ritam Bhatnagar started noticing in 2015 that made him rethink his approach to India Film Project, a festival that he founded in 2010, which returns to the city this weekend for its ninth edition. Bhatnagar saw that people who were earlier happy to carry tags like "filmmaker", "photographer" or "editor" were no longer willing to be typecast in the same mould. Instead, they started calling themselves "creators", or "storytellers". The reason, he says, is that the Internet expanding offered them a chance to diversify their portfolios. "So, someone whose day job is that of a photographer was now getting requests to create wedding videos. Or, for example, if someone’s a writer, they realised that they could shoot a video of them reciting a poem and put it up online. That’s why they preferred the term ‘storyteller’, which wasn’t in vogue at all before," Bhatnagar says, adding that this trend made him shift his festival’s focus away from just films to overall content creation.
The audience in rapt attention
It was a smart move. An event that saw only 600 people participate in its filmmaking challenge in the first year has 35,200 participants from 320 cities across 18 different countries for the current edition. The list of people who conduct workshops and host panel discussions has also become increasingly impressive over the years. Names like Rajkumar Rao, Javed Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar, Vikramaditya Motwane, Anand Gandhi and Devdutt Pattnaik are on the anvil this time around. So, India Film Project has grown from its humble beginnings to become the largest content creation festival in this part of the world.
Actor Ali Fazal in conversation at the festival
The aim, Bhatnagar says, is to improve the skill sets of the festival’s attendees. He says, "Workshops [on a particular subject] are usually about acknowledging that something like it exists. But for us, it’s more about people upgrading themselves thanks to the festival. Can we take them from level one to level two? That’s the question we asked ourselves, and we have worked hard with each of the speakers to make sure that they don’t just have a conversation, but have presentations with examples that the attendees can learn from."
Actor Vicky Kaushal in conversation at the festival
He adds that the workshops will also be more detailed and specific than previous editions. "For example, we don’t have one on how to use a camera or how to make a film. Instead, we have one on using gimbals to shoot a movie. It’s a rod-like device that you mount a camera on, which makes it really easy to get cinematic shots. It has a lot of functions. But not everyone is aware of how it works, though it’s become necessary for bloggers, YouTubers and even short filmmakers. It’s essentially become a new trolley for the industry," Bhatnagar explains, adding that while India Film Project earlier focused only on films and the digital space, there are sessions on music and literature included this year so that attendees can get a more well-rounded perspective on overall content creation.
On October 12 and 13, 10 am to 7.30 pm
At Mehboob Studio, 100, Hill Road, St Sebastian Colony, Ranwar, Bandra West.
Log on to indiafilmproject.co
Cost Rs 499 for a two-day pass
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