If Bollywood hits like Taare Zameen Par (2007) and Stanley Ka Dabba (2011) brought children’s issues on the big screen, here is a humble project that is endeavouring to revive the genre of children’s short-films. The project, Filmi Chashma, started by non-profit organisation Comet Media Foundation recently held workshops and film festivals at Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Pune, Bhopal and Akola, educating young filmmakers about the genre.
“There is very little happening in children’s media these days,” says Chandita Mukherjee, director of the foundation, “which is why we decided to encourage emerging film-makers to make children-centric films in our workshops.” The workshops worked with three audiences – children, teachers and emerging film- makers. “We encouraged children to look at films critically. We trained school teachers to use digital technology with the hope that they would pass on the knowledge to their students. To filmmakers, we introduced the idea of making children's films as a professional avenue,” says Mukherjee.
Filmmakers who attended these sessions were also invited to send in their entries for a competition of short films for children. “Children’s films carry a special tone, which corresponds to that of fairy tales. This is what I looked for while judging the entries,” says jury member Jagannathan Krishnan. “One entry we received was about a child who faces parental pressure for better marks, while another was about children dealing with bullying. Yet another was about a child coping with death and subsequent grief.”
However, no single entry merited the first prize (an award of Rs 75,000). Metamorphosis, a 10-minute film by Shikha Gupta from Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune, was awarded Rs 50,000, an amount earmarked for the second prize. The Hindi film with English subtitles, revolves around a boy and his family, including a puppy spending an ordinary afternoon at home. Actor Nandita Das, chairman of the Children's Film Society of India will present The Filmi Chashma Awards 2011 today at the Little Theatre, NCPA. It will be followed by film screenings.