The five films in the competition section for campus films at the IDSFFK 2013 unfold a variety of themes and styles. Over to the young filmmakers

They are all young and they all hail from colleges in Kerala. But what sets each of them apart is their passion for the movies. Now, these budding filmmakers, who are in many ways the real new generation of Malayalam cinema, find themselves on an international stage with their short films being selected for screening at the competition section for campus films at the ongoing 6th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK).

Five shorts, namely Awake In Your Dreams, Who Am I, Ridiculous, Life Sentence and CET Life, are in the running this year for the top prize in the campus film section.

The creators

If Awake In Your Dreams is the “dream” fulfilled of Shemin B. Nair, a student of filmmaking at the St. Joseph’s College of Communication, Changanassery, Who Am I is the brainchild of John Lanjo, a student of Cochin Media School. While Shemin has essayed the roles of director, scriptwriter, cinematographer and editor for his short, John has written the script and directed his short and his classmate Sreejith Vijayan handled the cinematography.

Ridiculous, meanwhile, is a collaborative effort of YSP Mopic, comprising Noel Raphael, Abhishek K.S., Vishnu K.S., Rakesh N. Sankar and Vishnu R. Chandran, students of Zica Institute of Creative Arts, Kakkanad.

Life Sentences was conceptualised, scripted and directed by Vincent Jose, who just graduated from the Government Medical College in the city and CET Life was directed by Arun Kumar and Sharath N.S. (credited as Akku and Saru), who recently graduated from the College of Engineering, Trivandrum (CET). The film was scripted by their classmate Shersha Sherief.

The themes

Thinking beyond the obvious, seems to be mantra for these youngsters. With regards to the themes, each of the five films seems to be as different as can be.

CET Life is a love story that weaves through four years in the life of a B. Tech student named Sidhu. “Reality, as Sidhu finds, is not about hanging out with friends, having fun and getting that dream girl,” says co-director Arun.

John’s Who Am I , which has been taken in one shot, is about a frustrated Malayali. “One day in class, one of our faculty members, P. Balan, talked about the typical characteristics of Malayalis and that got me thinking,” explains John.

Shemin’s 20-minute short that stars a bunch of foreigners is based on the theme of sleep paralysis. “It’s an experimental narrative that blurs fantasy with reality, where a mother dreams of the death of her child even as the child dies. It was my diploma film, inspired by my own poem, ‘Back To Womb’,” says Shemin.

Ridiculous too is an experimental take, but this time it has to do with the pitfalls of living in the age of technology. “It unfolds through an engaging conversation between two characters. We’ve added a lot of symbolism to the narrative and have used the new age filmmaking technique of ‘fourth world break’, where the characters interact with the director and also the audience,” says Rakesh, who wrote the script and is one of the lead actors.

Dr. Vincent too has taken an experimental approach with Life Sentence. “It’s a psychological tale, inspired by a thread in O. Henry’s last and unfinished short story Dreams,” he says. Dr. Vincent’s maiden film Violet, was in the running in the same slot at IDSFFK 2012.

The support

The budding filmmakers can’t stop gushing about the support they got on campus. Says Dr. Vincent: “I always get a lot of encouragement from my professors, some even go out of their way to help me with medical facts in the narrative and even fund my venture.” Arun seems to echo the thoughts of all the others when he says: “Everybody, whether it was our teachers, fellow students or the college authorities, was very supportive.

Our teachers gave us permission to bunk class to shoot our film, the college authorities opened up the college to us on weekends for the shoot, our college-mates dipped into their pockets to fund the movie and were kind enough to act in it without any remuneration… Campus films can’t be made without the campus in on the game!