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NFDC acquires rights for Lockdown Film Festival’s shortlisted films

Carrot Films, which organised the festival, says the acquisition gives the upcoming filmmakers significant exposure.

Our Correspondent

The National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) has acquired the rights to screen the shortlisted films from the Lockdown Film Festival on their website. The festival, launched by Ishani K Dutta and Ashish Dutta of Carrot Films, was held this past April during the nationwide lockdown.

The film festival reached out to all filmmakers at home and asked them to submit a short film of three-minutes on the theme of perspective. The film had to be created at home.

The festival's director Swarnendu Bose shared the thought behind organizing the Lockdown Film Festival and thanked everyone for coming together to make it happen. “The idea behind the Lockdown Film Festival was simple, to activate the creative note among people in this pandemic," he said. "However, we didn't think it would take such a big shape as it did and we were overwhelmed with responses. The biggest giveaway for me is how families came together to tell a story, so impactfully."

The esteemed jury members were made up of names like veteran actresses Sharmila Tagore and Ratna Pathak Shah, ad man Prahlad Kakkar, dramatist Iqbal Niyazi, actors Adil Hussain, Hiten Tejwani, Gautam Rode, filmmaker Ken Ghosh, producer Nivedita Basu, cinematographer Modhura Palit and upcoming director Ida Ali.

The panel was chaired by actress and filmmaker Aparna Sen, who stated, "I was extremely delighted at the innovativeness of the films submitted. It was a test of creativity for the filmmakers to be able to do this within the confines of their homes and really, I had a hard time judging the entries."

National award-winner Sharmila Tagore shared, "It's been a positive and fun-filled experience during the lockdown. The thinking and execution part was very good. I've really enjoyed and liked all the films. Well done!"

"I enjoyed these films very much," veteran actress Ratna Pathak Shah added. "Imaginative, interesting, different from each other, and not letting limitations get in the way. They were a very reassuring experience for me - proof that we may soon make good films regularly rather than occasionally. It was a rather daunting job though, as comparisons became inevitable. We had lively discussions in the jury and most of us wished we could have included more films.”

All the participants received certificates signed by the jury, but there were only five eventual winners. Aryaan’s Citigold won third place, while the second position was tied with three different films – Chor Ki Daadi Mein Tinka, Brahm, and Mirage. Kanad Mukherjee's Anjali took the first place prize.

Carrot Films believes NFDC’s acquisition gives these 20 upcoming films and their makers significant exposure as their work gets shown to a larger audience on nationally known platform.

NFDC India's managing director TCA Kalyani expressed her views about the collaboration. She said, "These films reaffirmed that ‘creativity cannot be locked down’ no matter what. There is so much untapped talent in India alone and by giving these films a platform we want to recognize their value. Each day I focus on new ways to operate and expand my own role to fit in new filmmakers and the independent content creator’s priorities. These are times for innovative opportunities and we have to look for ways to grow the industry and become more efficient.”

The Lockdown Film Festival also had the support of Prakash Javadekar, the minister of information and broadcasting, as well as celebrities like R Balki, Sushma Seth, Raza Murad, Usha Uthup, Sachin Pilgaonkar, JD Majethia, Kubbra Sait, Piyush Pandey, Indraneil Sengupta and Sona Mohapatra, who kept encouraging the participants through positive messages.

The not-for-profit initiative was sponsored by Aahana Resorts, Jim Corbett, and Hats Off Productions.

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