We all love to watch feature films. But we often forget another rich genre, short films. This poorer cousin among films is one which has produced many wonderful works. But they are mostly hidden gems, being rarely released publicly, a lack of commercial viability being the prime reason.
Now an exciting opportunity has opened up for short films made in Bengali. To circumvent the problem of commercial viability, an online competition, ‘eBioscope’ has been started by Priya Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and BongFlix, a pay-per-view Bengali film portal. It is the first international Bengali online short film festival.
By opting for the online medium, not only has the problem of showing short films in theatres been overcome, the films have also acquired a much wider audience – including the approximately 5.5 million-strong Bengali diaspora spread all over the world. Bengalis have always been known to be proud of their culture, and this gives them an opportunity, wherever they may be, to savour that culture as well as make a contribution, by helping the film-makers get an audience. For the film-makers, future opportunities may open up through this worldwide audience.
According to the organisers and judges, they are excited about discovering fresh, young talent. People are also now waking up to the genre and are wanting to see short films. Those good enough film-makers discovered through this online competition can also be groomed by established directors to step into the world of feature films, without any hiccups. The judges are also pleasantly surprised by number and quality of the entries they are getting, proving the increasing popularity of this type of films.
There are two sections to the competition – competitive and non-competitive. For the former section, only fictional short films not exceeding 39 minutes are permitted. For the latter, all other categories of short films, including non-fiction, documentary, industrial short films, animation, etc., are permitted, and they can have a maximum length of 49 minutes. Further, only unreleased works produced after January 1, 2011 are permitted or the competitive section. All shorts (as short films are also called) go through a primary screening before being permitted to be uploaded on to BongFlix. The films streamed through the website can be viewed for free on any net-enabled device. For Android devices, there is an app available on Play Store.
For the competitive section, viewers would be able to vote after seeing the films. The films can be seen over a period of sixty days. The competition has been on since August 1. The top twenty would then be presented to the jury for award selection. The award-winning shorts would be screened at the Priya Entertainment-owned Priya and Bioscope theatres.
Well-known and critically acclaimed film-makers Q, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and Suman Ghosh constitute the jury while Arijit Dutta, Priya Entertainments MD, Sanjeev Chatterjee, professor at School of Communication, University of Miami and Oney Seal, founder CEO of Miami-based Databazaar Group are the mentors.
Those wishing to send in entries, here are the details -
Festival Office: Databazaar India Pvt. Ltd. Infinity Benchmark 15th Floor, Sector V Kolkata 700091 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I've seen some of the films. Some are really good.
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