TUNGUSKA DIARIES – A Different Take

The whole idea of my blog is to appreciate films that push the envelope and learn something while I do so. “Short films” is a medium that is really close to my heart and when I see a short film, so passionately made, it simply inspires me to make more and more films.

TUNGUSKA DIARIES from Alpha Hawk Films on Vimeo.

The film TUNGUSKA DIARIES is based on the true event near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Russia. It was a large explosion caused by an asteroid and it is the largest impact event on or near Earth in recorded history.

The first thing I did after watching the film is to read more about this strange incident. I suggest you to read about the incident first and then watch the movie so that you can enjoy it even more.

The film actually combines the “found-footage” method of filming with an impactful sound design. I could really sense the presence of something, which is not supposed to be there due to the whole POV treatment. And although not realistic, it works quite well for the film.

The cinematography of the camera needs to be appreciated as well! The camera is never static. And there is always something happening on screen. It really kept me intrigued. A few suggestions would be to search for a few facts on the technical aspect before filming, such as the aspect ratio and the quality of the footage to make it more believable. However, the short is a stylish and satisfying version of a real incident, so nevertheless it works for me.

Well, I can’t help but to go back to the music of this film. While watching the film, I knew something is about to go wrong. And the music built the suspense tremendously well. It felt like I was watching Cloverfield made by Alfred Hitchcock.

I feel it is never too easy to make a found footage film. And I also think that a found footage film should be as open ended as possible. The film does score well in that manner. The film is smart, scary in a way and showcases a creative twist. It brought this strange phenomenon to my notice. And now I cannot stop thinking about it.

Over here I want to give a big shoutout to the makers of the film, especially Martin Sommerdag, the Director. Their film – A Beautiful View is coming out shortly and it is already on my must watch list.

A Beautiful View [Teaser] from Alpha Hawk Films on Vimeo.

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Writing ‘Bey Yaar’ – How a Gujarati film changed the rules of the game

F.i.g.h.t C.l.u.b

Bey Yaar – It was a small budget Gujarati film that nobody had heard about. And then something magical happened. Again, something that nobody had heard about. The film’s writer Niren Bhatt tells us about the making of the film, the hurdles it faced, and its amazing journey – how it not only recovered its cost but went to earn almost 10 times its budget.

Bey Yaar

Any Gujarati (I hate the word Gujju) reading this blog is (I assume) aware of ‘Bey Yaar’, for others – it’s a small independent regional film which recently completed 25 Weeks in cinemas. It’s beyond belief (even for us) considering the fact that it directly competed with all major Bollywood releases for almost 4 months now, in a market conventionally strong for Hindi films, and in a space where regional content is absolutely non-existent in multiplexes.

For decades, Gujarati cinema was on ventilator…

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The Indie Movement that Moves You

Cinema is nowhere close to being the cheapest form of art. On the contrary it could possibly be the most expensive art form practiced worldwide. As we witnessed the digital revolution, cinema has started to become more and more personal. We are just counting days till the next Rodriguez comes up with his version of El Mariachi shot on his iPhone. And we will appreciate it not because it is shot with no budget. But for the fact that an individual has the guts to invest resources both in the form of time and money to tell his unique story.

Sulemani Keeda is a story of storytellers. It is about two struggling writers in the suburbs of Mumbai trying to make a career and deal with even more complex issues in life; such as love and, life. But it is far from being a documentary about how difficult it is to get into the industry and how one has to keep his morals aside. By watching the trailer itself you can tell that about the film that it is not a Madhur Bhandarkar film.

Simple is boring – At least when it comes to characters, make them complex. Right from their dressing sense to their smallest attributes. Give the audience something to remember. In the film, the second lead played by Mayank Tewari dwells on this simple principle.

Comic relief – For me, the genre of the film was comedy. So you can’t really call it a comic relief. But take a serious film for example – Life is Beautiful. No matter how serious your subject is, the audience needs some hope. Some reason to believe that things are going to get better. So a dramatic scene sandwiched between comedy scenes is even more gripping and it distracts from the melodrama on screen.

Every person can have a different approach to the same story. If I have to make this same film again, I would make it in a completely different form. That’s why there are new films coming every week. Because the plot of two films could be similar but the treatment of the film can change the whole perspective.

On a totally irrelevant note – Irrelevant scenes that are memorable get etched into the audience’s mind. Get your characters out of their comfort zones. Let them do things they wouldn’t do otherwise. Try to capture the emotions over there and you have a brilliant scene.

In terms of technicalities the film lacks the professional touch. At least that’s what I felt. Watching it on Vimeo certainly doesn’t make me the best judge of it. But the cinematography and the sound design was quite off. I seriously felt such a fresh story needed a better technical support. But nevertheless, it wasn’t distracting me from the story. As long as the story is going in the right direction, I don’t mind compromising on these details.

Apart from a fresh script if there is anything that makes the film what it is then it is the conviction behind it. No matter what the budget is, you are always spending time while making a film. Right from the idea to actually watching it on the screen, it takes a huge investment in terms of time. And it is a great achievement to dedicate yourself to a project such as this with little or no guarantee of returns. That is what I take back from this film.

I hate the fact that such attempts are showered with almost no love by the audience. Yes, we have a certain group that actually goes to the theaters to watch an experimental film by a talented new director. Yet, when it comes to actually getting the money back from revenues, set aside some profit; is extremely difficult. But everyone knows that. As the one character in the film says – if you want to make a film, think like a shopkeeper, not like a writer. So I don’t know about others, but I actually want to catch as many indie films as I can in the theaters this year.

To watch Sulemani Keeda online, follow these steps

Oh and by the way, here are some of the greatest indie films. Let’s watch them together!