Each year, a competition of short film occupies a sacred space in the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival. Named after the most famous Indian filmmaker of all time, Satyajit Ray, it is in fact a vital platform for new voices.
Looking at the annual festival on the whole, it always includes a very mixed programme of first-features, documentaries and shorts, alongside the multi-award-winning movies with internationally-acclaimed, star-studded casts and crew.
Mixed programming means appeal for every kind of cinema goer – and indeed, one of the festival’s great strengths is how it not only thrives on regular, returning audiences, but offers a space that welcomes first-time spectators to discover Indian cinema.
And what does this mean for the Short Film programme?
Short film is a form that allows space for experimentation, creativity, inventiveness – to tell a story in a matter of minutes. By including a platform for short film in the Festival, it encourages recognition of the genre and showcases new voices that are producing exciting stories in different and refreshing ways.
It also means visibility for new directors. By attending the screening, audiences are support emerging talent; and the press will broaden their reach.
It is wonderful to follow the development of filmmakers over the last few years at LIFF. For instance, in 2014, Shubhashish Bhutiani won the competition for his short film KUSH, a 20 min short inspired by a true story at the time of the anti-Sikh riots following the death of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. Three years later (LIFF 2017), the director returned to the festival with the UK premiere of his first feature film, HOTEL SALVATION. The award winning film was acquired by BFI Distribution, and also went on to be released in cinemas UK-wide later that summer.
This year, the Competition takes place at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS) – a space of creativity and diversity, and surely the most fitting space for this programme… The shorts in this programme, which may be key stepping stones on the path to future features, will be inspiration for students and for young aspiring filmmakers.
Satyajit Short Film Award
Wednesday 27 June 2018
Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS
Total running time: 105 minutes
Moongfali Wala (The Peanut Seller)
Director: Etienne Sievers
2017 | Germany/India | Hindi | 18 minutes
An orphaned young ragpicker battling isolation and poverty in the streets of New Delhi tries to locate the one man capable of helping him find his mother.
Director: Priyanka Singh
2017 | India | Hindi | 11 minutes
Maun is a short film based on the issue of Child Sexual Abuse and how an eerie silence surrounds the issue.
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Maacher Jhol (The Fish Curry)
Director: Abhishek Verma
2017 | India | 12 minutes | Hindi
An animated short film project that deals with the journey of Lalit as he attempts to come out of the closet to his father.
Director: Jayisha Patel
2018 | India/ UK | Hindi | 14 minutes
A haunting portrait of a rape survivor, caught in the devious ploys of her family. Where does the circle of violence begin and can there be any release?
British Council website link
Director: Vijay Kumar
2017 | India | Hindi | 20 minutes
A powerful drama about a young girl sold to Haryanvi family as a bride.
Jaan Jigar (Beloved)
Director: Ranjan Chandel
2017 | India | Hindi | 19 minutes
A charming tale of two teenagers in the throws of first love meeting to have their first kiss.
Director: Athithya Kanagarajan
2017 | India | Tamil | 10 minutes
Dilip, a twelve year old paper boy is overjoyed at the prospect of his idol, Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam attending his school annual day celebration.