Event St. Francis College hosts its film festival ‘The First Cut’ to a positive response,reports Zeenab Aneez

Film festivals are always exciting more so when the featured films are made by young students, aspiring film makers and professionals from your very own city. The premier edition of ‘The First Cut’, organised by the Department of P.G. Mass Communication, St. Francis College for women was no different. The festival held on March 4 on the college premises saw over 22 entries in both short film and documentary categories put together of which 12 were screened on the day of the festival, according to the organisers.

The event began with key note addresses by Chief Guest Thammareddy Bharadwaja. R. Narasimha Rao, Uma Maheshwar Rao and scriptwriter K.L. Prasad were also present. This was followed by the film and documentary screenings, a dance performance by Twists and Turns and a live performance by band, Aces.

The festival presented an opportunity for the students of the college and other aspiring film-makers to not only showcase their films but also to interact with their peers in the same field. “This gives us the chance to show our film to a larger audience and see their responses,” says Tarz Rabbani, a student. The films screened spanned a wide range of subjects including children, violence against women, adoption, romance and more. Most stories were inspired by personal experiences or observations. Tarz’s film To win a jackpot spoke about hope and happiness in times of despair and was inspired by a phrase ‘To win a jackpot’ printed on the t-shirt of a street urchin.

Sarah Vinodini’s short film Mistaken, which won the special jury award, was inspired by the story of a friend. The film follows the experience of a young girl who is dealing with the revelation that she is adopted. “I’ve tried the capture the girl’s experiences, the trauma and insecurities one feels when they realise that they may have been an illegitimate child.” Filmmaker Kamal Sucharan’s film Live the marriage bagged the other special jury award for its choice of subject and message. “The film is essentially about live-in relationships. I made it for the Vizag City police who wanted to create awareness among the young corporate employees on live-in relationships, after the practise allegedly sparked a spate of suicides in the city. I’ve focussed on three different cases and tried not to preach but let the audience make their choice about live-in relationships.” Kamal says that such festivals are what help boost the morale of filmmakers like him. “Every filmmaker craves for an audience more than awards and cash prizes. This is why we eagerly await even small film festivals.”

The award for the best short film was given to Telugu film Premincha which Aroon Gautham, a member of the film production crew called a “tragic love story”. The film is a product of the effort of a group of short film enthusiasts. “We entered the film with absolutely no expectations so the win was a good surprise.” The prize was even more of a surprise to Arun Gosh of Whitelephant productions whose film Hal f-mark , which was entered by a friend, won the first runner –up in the short films category. “My friend sent in the DVD, called me yesterday and told me that we had won,” says Arun. The film is about a little boy who needs half a mark more to pass an examination and the things he does to get this. “It is taken from childhood experience and touches upon something that everyone has gone through as a child,” he says. Nabeela Wasim’s film Happy Journey which was a feature on women in public transport that won the first prize in the documentary category. Another feature on bio-medical waste by filmmaker Anshul was given the special recognition award in this category. Another attraction of the evening was actor and producer Lakshmi Manchu who distributed prizes to the winners.

Lakshmi also spoke to the students about her own experiences in the industry as a woman producer. She advised students to “continue to motivate themselves” and “follow their hearts at all costs.”