Mumbai-based short filmmaker Neha Raheja Thakker is two-thirds into the production of her next movie. It’s a four-minute short film that’s part of a larger film to be contributed to by 24 other filmmakers from around the world. However, up until now, none of the filmmakers have met each other.
Thakker’s film is part of a project started in May this year by CollabFeature, a group of filmmakers who make a feature-length movie by clubbing together several short films.
There’s one plot – in this case the story of a bag that travels around the world – and each filmmaker has to chip in with a clip he’s shot in his city. In Thakker’s 4-minute movie, the bag, completely lost, ends up on a bullock cart in the middle of Mumbai. “My clip shows how naïve the bag is. It was great coming up with the idea, since the entire creative process was so democratic. There were cultural differences, but that only added perspectives to the final output,” Thakker says.
Thakker’s collaborators on the project include Vishesh Mankal and Varun Mathur from Delhi and Asmit Pathare from Mumbai, all of whose films are currently in the edit stage.
Says Mankal, whose clip is a break in the plot of the film, “The idea is unique because when you interact with other filmmakers, there’s a sense of competition, a one-upmanship. It makes you want to try out newer stuff.”
The entire crew interacted online throughout the discussion stage and sent in their inputs to Ian Bonner and Marty Shea, the founders of the project. Mathur, whose clip is about a party on the outskirts of Delhi, says it was great to be able to interact with international filmmakers and shoot with them, albeit virtually.
“It’s an interpretation of culture through cinema; you get to know how people live. It’s been a peaceful process with a lots of good suggestions for change,” he says. To monetise effectively, the filmmakers will promote the films in their regions, hold screenings and even enter the film in festivals.
Everyone has been allotted specific roles for the final stage of filming ranging from post-production to sound and marketing. And even as they’re trying to figure this out, the crew has to decide a good time and place to meet. “For all you know, it might be directly at the premiere of the movie! But the exciting thing is how many avenues we have ahead of us,” Thakker adds.