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Revels’19—Film Festival

Film Festival at Revels’19 was the perfect category for the ones who can spend hours analysing the plots of their favourite movies. It called out to all the cinema enthusiasts and Netflix bingers to discuss the plots and background scores of films and learn to appreciate them even more. The events also offered a chance for budding filmmakers to present their short films and enhance their cinematographic skills.

Rasika Murali

On 8th March 2019, M.V Seminar Hall welcomed aspiring filmmakers to Manipal’s version of the Cannes Film Festival. Nine student-made films were screened, and each one of them had a unique essence to it.

Diving into the world of alternative-history, the audience gained a fresh perspective on the events that led to Gandhi’s assassination. The films attempted to raise awareness on pressing issues like drug abuse and the dangers of trusting strangers we meet online. A movie on lynching and fake WhatsApp forwards left the audience enthralled with its excellent script. The films delivered their story beautifully despite having to adhere to a strict time limit.

Artistic visuals and the appropriate background score together brought out elements of the story that one could not appreciate otherwise. Some films had very artistic cinematographic shots, while others were slightly shaky giving away the fact that the movies were made in the hands of an amateur. Of the nine films, two were in Hindi and had poetic, well-written dialogues.
After the screenings, Bhaskar Upadhyaya, an alumnus of MIT, addressed the aspiring filmmakers and gave them insight on his journey into the world of cinema. He is the CEO and founder of Eastern Green Pictures and currently makes regional content. He began by talking about how the consumption of content has changed over the years and how it is essential to keep that in mind while creating content. He then explored the idea of “Reverse Engineering” which involves visualising your end goal and working your way back which makes the process of achieving your goals less overwhelming. Upadhyaya’s most profound work has been ‘Tez’, an Assamese film that gained recognition at the 69th Cannes Film Festival.


Abhijit Shera Rajanish 

The Exhibition of Cinema spanned days three and four of Revels’19 and displayed the posters of different films, right from the early silent films to the extravagant modern blockbusters. It featured old movies such as Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, the groundbreaking Citizen Kane and India’s first full-length feature film, Raja Harishchandra and even recent movies like Marvel’s The Avengers. A few documentaries played at the venue contained clips about iconic movie directors through the ages.

“We wanted to present the different ways in which Indian and foreign cinema has evolved. We’ve showcased movies ranging from those made in the early 1890s by Thomas Edison to those made in the 2010’s”, said Rohit Nadakatti, an Event Head for Film Festival, and a second-year Computer Science Engineering student, talking about the concept behind the event and what they wanted to achieve.

Film Analysis
Varun Potty

The experience of going to the cinema is an integral part of society, where the films leave the cinema-goer entirely vulnerable to the filmmaker and at the mercy of the film, having no control over the emotional rollercoaster ride they sign up for at the start of every movie. The subtlety and the techniques employed in the art form are least understood, let alone appreciated and are often taken for granted.

This is where Film Festival stepped in with its film analysis workshop. Under the guidance of Dr Sudhamshu Bhushan Raju, a reputed film critique, the organisers were confident that the event was in safe hands. The workshop attempted to explain the construct of genre, form, and content. These fundamental concepts were explained by analysing a Hong Kong classic, In The Mood For Love. The movie was screened in NLH 205 to a small group of film enthusiasts. “This is our first time organising an event like this, so we didn’t put much emphasis on advertising the event and chose to leave that to the Social Media team instead”, said Rohit Nadakatti, an organiser. He reiterated a conscious decision taken by the team to get the crux of the event right before concentrating on drawing a huge crowd. The host of the event chose to show only the scenes crucial to understanding the plot devices and themes of the movie based on which a constructive discussion could ensue.

Once the film screening had come to an end, the professor went on to point out certain techniques employed in the movie to express emotions of longing, envy, solitude, and nostalgia. The eternal debate of who truly deserved the credit for a film arose–the gathering finally concluded that the concerted effort of the whole team is greater than the sum of the individual components. Great lessons were learnt about the field of cinema, and the race to make the next classic that would receive the adulation of viewers for years to come, continues. The workshop played its role in enlightening MIT’s film enthusiasts about the true essence of cinema.

Varun Srikanth 

In an attempt to bring together all the fun aspects of pop-culture and storytelling, Storybags brought out the creative side of its contestants. The participants were first given a basic premise: After a spree of murders in London, Scotland Yard suspects that an animal is behind the killings. Sherlock Holmes is put on the case and paired unexpectedly with Tony Stark as his partner. Little did either of them know, that the real killer was the criminal mastermind Hannibal Lecter. Who would come out on top? It was up to the contestants to decide.

Each team was allowed to pick one chit each from three different categories: ordinary, ability and creative. Each category contained a list of iconic props from cinematic history, including items like lightsabers from Star Wars, the flying car from Harry Potter and the katana from Kill Bill. The teams were then given 30 minutes each to develop the given premise into a story, where each of the props acted as crucial plot points.

Each team managed to come up with imaginative scenarios that captured the attention of the audience. The turn-out was lower than expected, with only three teams registering for the event. “We were a little disappointed with the turnout, but with the event being the first of its kind, we’re just glad everything went smoothly,” said Ashwin Karthikeyan, the Event Head. The organisers hope to draw in a larger crowd next year and wish to redefine some of the rules of the game.

Low Budget Film Making
Ashwin Suresh

With their tantalising graphics and over-the-top action sequences, superhero films and the latest domestic blockbusters often make us wonder about the amount of money that goes into their making. Film Festival’s Low Budget Film Making presented to its viewers the various ways in which they can make the most out of their monetary investments. The event proved to be quite beneficial for aspiring low-budget film-makers who can adopt the inventive techniques suggested to utilise available resources in the best possible way.

Elaborating on the strategies to cut down costs, the organisers highlighted the prime importance of simple yet versatile storytelling that can be tailored to fit their environment. The shoot can be planned to maximise resources in ways as simple as renting out a low light camera for a single night and shooting all nocturnal scenes in its duration.

Since small scale film-makers, especially students, have a limited workforce, time is of utmost importance. Instead of having a horde of editors working on a script, the speaker encouraged film-makers to skim through their scripts and make changes along the way.

Another point that the speaker emphasised on was the need to publicise a project. This helps in providing useful contacts and a potential audience. On a parting note, the lecturer presented cheap and simple equipment that makes the job incredibly easy, which managed to attract the attention of even the photographers present at the venue.

Picture Credits: Photography and Videography Team, Revels’19

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