Keeping it short and sweet

Learning lessonsStudents interact with director Karthik SubbarajPhoto: M. Karunakaran

Learning lessonsStudents interact with director Karthik SubbarajPhoto: M. Karunakaran  

At FilmCamp’s one-day workshop, aspiring filmmakers’ work was reviewed by director Karthik Subbaraj, who also attended the same workshop, seven years ago

A group of seven fledgling filmmakers have a task at hand. Their story is ready, the camera is held steady and all that’s left to do is to shoot their film. But, this is when the villain — a beat cop on rounds, in this case — enters and poses several questions: What are you doing here? This is public property. You are not allowed to shoot here. Do you have police permission? Where is your student ID?

The filmmakers are stumped.

“A filmmaker is overwhelmed by the variables that he can’t control. Throwing him into the process helps him overcome them,” says Sanjay Nambiar, founder of FilmCamp, who conducted a one-day filmmaking workshop in the city for aspiring filmmakers.

Seventeen participants, some with intermediate experience and some with none, were divided into three groups and spent the day learning to make 60-to-90-second films, all shot and edited on iPhones. “Basically, an idea that is conceived in the morning is made into a film by the end of the day,” explains Sanjay.

The films were reviewed by Karthik Subbaraj, director of much-acclaimed films such as Pizza and Jigarthanda , who learnt the basics of filmmaking at the same workshop in 2008. “He was just a nervous kid when he started out here. But that’s the beauty of filmmaking — you never know who is going to accomplish what,” says Sanjay, who mentored him. Karthik’s first film, which he made for the workshop, called Outpouring , was about a guy throwing up while he was on a bike. He enjoyed looking at the three films made at the workshop — one about chain snatching, another about magic chocolates that make people disappear and the third about a serial killer, whose victims are those who send him Candy Crush requests. “When you come in here, you don’t know how to make a film, but by the end of the day, you’ve gone through the entire cycle of making a film, and you have the confidence to try it again,” says Karthik.

Sanjay insists that only when the director goes through the six departments of filmmaking — writing, performing, cinematography, sound, background score and editing — will he understand how to work with them. “This is hard work. The resources are all available at the workshop. After this, the filmmaker is alone. The motivation to tell a story beyond that is what drives the ones who make it. Karthik had that,” says Sanjay.

Says Priyadarshini S.M., the only female participant in the workshop, “Never am I going to say I like or dislike a film from this point on. We went through six hours of pre-production work before we went out to shoot our one-minute film. There’s so much work that goes into a film; this process was so eye-opening.”

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