Being a newbie in The Sparrow family, attending the 16MM Film Festival by Harkat Studios in Mumbai last night was my first ever experience of attending a Film Festival, a screening and to top it all it was an other-than-digital movie screening, on original 35MM.

And must I tell you, it was a wonderful escapade into the marvellous world of Film-Making!

In today’s world of DSLR cameras, front facing cameras on mobile phones and effects of camouflaging edits and filters, the Harkat 16MM Film Festival wishes to reconnect us with films from where it all began – the Celluloid. The 16MM Film Festival, as they call it, is a celebration of the magic of films by projecting the Film Strip on a large screen, showing us the effect of films that can never be matched by digital. Organized by the Harkat Studios – an alternative arts space and a film production company based in Mumbai and Berlin.

The vibe of the screening transmitted by the whole event was very warm; it seemed as though everyone present at the screening was a part of the same extended family- a filmy family of movie buffs.

The film festival is to run for a total of 3 days from the 14th to the16th of December, 2018 in Mumbai.

The opening night had a planned agenda and started off with the first ever screening of the ek minute silent films, 2017 which were produced by Harkat. The screening was partnered with live sound scaping/music. These were a bunch of out-of-the-box movies that managed to wave a sentiment with the audience within a short span of a frivolous minute. The following were the well deserved movies which were screened in this category:

Intellectual Masturbation by Michaela Talwar
Kaboom by Aditi Mediratta
Obituary by Genevive Pitchen
Udd Gayi by Sheba Alexander
Waiting by Rubi Sanchez

The main event was the screening of the film Udaan, which was also the opening film for the festival. Udaan is a 2010 Hindi film shot on Super 16mm film with sync and sound. The story is a coming-of-age drama involving a seventeen year old boy who is expelled from a boarding school only to return and stay with his father after not having seen him for eight full years. The film beautifully depicts the emotional turmoil faced by the boy and his journey towards taking the decision of pursuing his passion.The original 35mm print of this film were retrieved from the filmmaker’s personal archives by Harkat for the screening.

The screening of Udaan was followed by a moderated Q&A Session with its critically acclaimed Director Vikramaditya Motwane. During this discussion, he spoke a lot about the tedious process of story making and screenplay for Udaan, while also being more than rewarding at the same time. He also enlightened us with a few unknown facts about the movie such as: a lot of inspiration for him to write Udaan came from the song – Bhor by the New Delhi band – Indian Ocean. Major parts of the film such as its characters and scenes were influenced by his personal life.

As a member from the audience pointed out, he also elaborated on a few exquisite metaphors depicted in the film which can be discovered only on proper analysis of its scenes such as the flying references in the movie with the superman toy, the car’s number plate being 747, and more, just showing how intricate these little details are and how much they count in the final outcome. While also talking about how the Poetry, Background Score, Music in the film has had a huge impact on its appeal to the audience.

In conclusion, my first ever film screening experience was a film shot on 16mm and I may have been a tad bit lucky because I believe that these celluloid films are a window to glance into the nostalgic era of filmmaking in the olden days.

I can indubitably say that I would take up as much of such opportunities that come my way, for it is a method of learning the extensive thoughts and efforts put into making a film. Not to mention, it is a superb experience to cherish and to tell stories about!

Picture Courtesy: Harkat Studios 


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