Want to know about Bollywood secrets, indie films or world cinema? Are you a first-time filmmaker looking for a way in? It's all there in the cinema blogs
Last week, Moifightclub, the blog that gained notoriety and a cult following by leaking script reviews, put up an abstract 42 minute award-winning short called “Good Morning” that you wouldn't have read about in any mainstream media... And soon an intense discussion broke out between people who liked and hated the film, with the filmmakers themselves joining in the fight.
A year and a half ago, Moifightclub was the first to post the link to the trailer of the now acclaimed “Gandu”.
Moifightclub is run by a Mumbai-based anonymous journalist who calls himself Cilema Snob (@Cilemasnob on Twitter), who once contributed and coordinated writers for the now shut Passionforcinema. Given his close connections with the film industry, Moifightclub is that insider blog Bollywood reads and fears.
Two and half years ago, Cilemasnob started his blog with an anonymous post in support of a writer friend who didn't get paid. “It started as a space that busted Bollywood's lies. Also, there were a lot of good small films that went unnoticed. So when I heard about such films, I would ask whoever has seen it to write a recommendation post.”
He soon started posting script reviews and official synopsis of films under production. “I still get scripts of films under production in my mailbox but there is so much pressure from the film industry every time we write anything negative ,” he says.
Cilemasnob runs the blog in his free-time, dedicating two hours a day. “About five or six friends I trust have the password to post their contributions on the blog. Nobody gets paid. The idea is just to put up reviews that are not biased.”
Of late, the blog also features podcasts and interviews with unsung filmmakers and trade experts.
“We get about 1200 hits on an average. It goes up to 5000-8000 on a good day,” he says. Still operating through the original Wordpress domain, Moifightclub.wordpress.com is a basic, no-frills blog that focuses on content than layout or design.
DearCinema that has been around for over five years now, was started by business journalist Bikas Mishra, around the time Passionforcinema started. Though it started as a blog, DearCinema is now an editorial site reviewing films not usually featured in the mainstream media.
“I had my day job with CNBC as a business journalist when I started writing about films I like from my personal collection of DVDs of world cinema. I started on a blogspot domain in 2006 but migrated to DearCinema.com in February 2007,” says Bikas.
“A couple of friends joined and we started writing and contributing regularly. We wanted to reach out to people with a passion for world cinema. So we started covering international film festivals in India. Most of our authors were anyway going to these festivals and our festival diaries became quite popular. We then forged a significant partnership with cineuropa.org and got access to European festivals.”
“The years 2007-2008 were a great time for world cinema. NDTV Lumiere, UTV World Movies, Palador, Enlighten all came up around that time. Shemaroo started a world cinema section and we started writing about their collections...”
Bikas used to write for Passionforcinema too. “While PFC was an unmoderated blog, at DearCinema we decided that we would have an editorial board to decide on coverage. We commissioned and paid people to cover events. Over the years, we have discovered excitement about world cinema has subsided. Our own independent cinema space had got into the spotlight of international film festivals. So apart from world cinema, we write about the Indian independent space.” Bikas, who is also the editor of DearCinema.com, is now in the process of making his first film.
The newest entrant in this space is Shiladitya Bora's LongLiveCinema that launched two months ago.
“My day job involves scouting for indie films. There was no single point source for updates on Indie films. So I thought of collating all the info at one place,” says Shiladitya, who runs alternate programming at PVR.
“The target audience is people who want to make their first film. We provide them with not just information but also resources, database, interviews with filmmakers on the process, blogs by filmmakers about their journey.”
LongLiveCinema currently posts trailers of offbeat films, first-hand accounts of filmmakers, reports from film festivals around the country and is run entirely by Shiladitya with the help of a full-time content manager. “I take care of the expenses from my pocket, dedicating a portion of my salary to keep it running,” he says.
LongLiveCinema plans to launch a database of Indian independent films in mid-March. “We will begin with a database of 300 independent films including shorts and features,” says Shiladitya.
BollywoodLife.com - Does reviews and interviews of mainstream Bollywood films
FukatKiBiryani.Blogspot.com - Dedicated to making fun of Bollywood
TheVigilIdiot.com - Stick Figure Reviews of mainstream Bollywood films
MadAboutMoviez.com - Has posts by a bunch of movie buffs exchanging reviews
BollySpice.com - Mainstream Bollywood news, interviews and reviews