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A platform for young film-makers

By Mandira Nayar

NEW DELHI, JULY 4. The projector will be silent during these movies. Celebrating the new era of film-making the British Council is inviting all dreamers -- who have abandoned the lasting quality of celluloid to join the electronic world -- to pick up a camera and tell their story.

A festival with a difference, the Digital Film Festival, which took its first step into the virtual `ree(a)lity' last year, will give aspiring young film-makers a platform to show their work to an audience. "We had about 500 entries from upcoming film-makers last year. What was nice is that it was fresh stuff and the directors chose to address contemporary issues. Sexuality was one theme that emerged out of the films that we submitted to us and we had a whole section devoted to the theme. We are sure that new themes like this will emerge after we have all the entries in," says its curator, Madhureeta Anand Negi.

A relatively new medium of expression, digital films are cheaper and give filmmakers the freedom to make many more films, with varied themes and concerns. The new format has also brought with it more informal styles of storytelling as well as new visual language. Moving beyond hand-held camera used to tape events at home, the digital film has become an accepted and even acclaimed way of making a movie. While it might be the chosen medium for many directors now, spaces to explore the digital format to its fullest in India are few and far between. And the Digital Film Festival wants to provide film-makers this chance to contribute and express themselves.

"We want to lots of people the opportunity to show their work here. The deadline for submitting the films for the competitive section is July 23. But we want to give as many people a chance to show their work as we can, so we have a café where film-makers who don't want to enter their films for competition can show their work, since there are lots of people who want just express themselves with images and not bind themselves to a story," claims Madhureeta.

However, those who want to be judged might realise that their electronic dreams of a big screen just came true. "Unlike last year we have a jury this year. The jury will have a British film-makers as well as big names from the Hindi film industry who are looking to find fresh talent -- actors, cinematographers, directors and technicians," reveals Madhureeta.

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