Lights, Camera, Freedom!
First Cut is an international festival of student films organized by FLAME University to provide an active platform to young filmmakers in the country and encourage them to explore the medium of film as a reflection of the society they inhabit as well as a potential agent of change. This festival believes that freedom is essential for any creative work and hence provides its participants the complete freedom to choose their own themes and style of work.
First Cut 2017, our international student-only film festival, took place on the 18th and 19th of February at the FLAME University campus. There were four categories of films: short films fiction (5-20 minutes length); short films non-fiction (5-20 minutes length); nano films (1-5 minutes length ); animation films (1-10 minutes length)
First Cut offers young filmmakers a platform to showcase their talent in fiction as well as documentary filmmaking. Additionally, there is the unique ‘Nano Film’ category that will challenge one’s creativity in making super-short films. First Cut recognizes the filmmaker in everyone. This is a short film competition where it doesn’t matter if a DSLR or a mobile camera is used. There are no restrictions on the theme one can choose. All that matters is the way the story is told. And the best works win awards!
Thousands of short films are made each year by filmmaking enthusiasts who wish to have their films screened to audiences. However, a lot of these film makers are disqualified usually for failing to adhere to technical specifications. A film not shot on DSLR is automatically at a risk of disqualification. Films shot on mobile are considered a no-no. Many of these disqualified entries submitted to short film competitions are competent works by film school and non-film school students that end up getting unfairly ignored. How does this give freedom to students when their filmmaking efforts are overlooked by short film festivals in India? First Cut gives filmmakers a carte blanche in making films of their choice, and helps them reach out to a large audience of cinema-lovers.
260 entries from 36 cities across the globe were received this year. Apart from film and design school students, engineers, management students and even school kids shared their films with us. Around 20 teams attended the screenings and participated in the discussions that followed. The best works were screened during the festival at FLAME in front of an eminent panel from the film industry and a live audience. This panel included many eminent personalities like Mayank Shekhar – a film critic, journalist, and writer; Rasika Duggal – an actor who has done a wide variety of work in feature length and short films, television series as well as theatre; Anil Zankar – an alumnus of FTII, Pune; Swati Agarwal – a filmmaker and animation designer; Sidharth Iyer – a young media professional who has carved a niche for himself in the field of Media and Entertainment; PT Njanasundaran – National Institute of Design alumni in Visual Communication Design; Kurush Canteenwala – a documentary filmmaker known for ‘Goa Goa Gone’, a documentary describing the ill effects of rampant iron ore mining in parts of Goa; and Minnie Vaid – a documentary filmmaker and print journalist.
Screening was followed by panel discussions like, “The never ending childhood of Indian Animation”. FLAME University students won awards in the following categories:
- Winner of Best Film (Fiction) : Anahita Sachdev – Undergraduate student, FLAME University
- Jury’s special mention in the Nano Category was bagged by a short film about food : Param Vyas – Undergraduate student, FLAME University
Congratulations to all FLAME students for their hard work in arranging and organizing such a massive and relevant event.