Everybody has a story. This one begins at the end. Kabir has been searching for the perfect way to die. Tonight is the night.
This has taken a long time. The research, the planning, the procrastination and now, finally, the moment.
His apartment. His home. The place where he has been searching for a smooth way to exit. Where he mixed his last cocktail minutes ago.
Where all his possessions are, packed in neat cardboard boxes. (To be distributed to orphanages whose ads he has cut out from newspapers and magazines and pasted on these boxes)
Everything filed and tagged, marked with post-its, ready to be passed on to new owners.
All mute spectators of his final act. Impatient with his indecision.
As he takes the final plunge, in a methodical manner, both eager and tentative, like a curious child bending over an aquarium, the telephone in his apartment rings.
Coincidence? Destiny? A Sign?
Friend? Lover? Pizza salesgirl?
The next few minutes form the film and the answer to all questions, these and his.
ctrl + alt + del at international film festivals:
Palm Beach International Film Festival
Atlanta Film Festival
ReelHeART International Film Festival
What was the inspiration behind the idea?
The premium on being successful.
I imagined Kabir (the lead character) as a single, intelligent, successful person alienated by an impersonal ‘ultra-capitalistic’ society where success or rather ‘economic relevance’ is the only binding connection between its members. A space devoid of ‘human touch’.
In a globalised world where a rich society ‘outsources’ this ‘human touch’ from its poorer counterpart (call centers of today) everybody and everything is either a Customer or a Service.
To provide the human touch the Service promises to be everything for its customer – friend, advisor, confidant, even lover. (look at how the brands advertise themselves today, ‘your best friend…’, ‘your special friend…’, ‘just do it…’, ‘your potential our passion…’ and so on.)
What happens if a Customer believes the Service.
When the Service does it’s job too well, convincing the customer that it exists only for him, or even that it exists.
WHY SHORT FILMS- a backgrounder
The most significant events in the Indian entertainment industry, over the last few years, have been –
· Launch of satellite television
· Establishment of Multiscreen theatres
· Emergence of an international (primarily NRI!) audience
interested in Indian content
· Recognition of Cinema as an industry by Government of India
(FICCI FRAMES, 2002, Bombay)
These developments have shaped the style, approach and format adopted by filmmakers as well as others assosciated with the audio-visual media.
In theory it is more possible today, than ever, to find support for producing and avenues for showcasing, strong, independent content with an alternative theme.
While the avenues for showcasing intelligent and thought provoking content have multiplied, in practice cinema has remained a business. The sheer economics of producing a full-length feature film often hinder the privilege of portrayal (of the subject, story, truth) that the filmmaker enjoys. As a result Indian Cinema today is more or less an audio-visual circus designed to entertain a paying audience.
The surge in demand for new age content combined with the shift taking place in the entertainment industry (emergence of new media such as DVDs, gaming software, games and ring tones on cellular phones etc.) signal the arrival of a discerning audience well versed with technology. A consumer not interested in dumb soaps broadcasted free but willing to pay to download a well designed game on the mobile. Given the fast pace at which content delivery systems are evolving it is not difficult to imagine a scenario where short form entertainment is accessible ‘on demand’.
We believe that a film should entertain, inspire and amaze but also probe, explore and mirror its audience.
Short films, a much ignored art house/student genre, present an opportunity to free the process of filmmaking from the burden of mammoth commercial considerations and represent an intriguing genre to the viewer.
LIKE a VIRGIN
Over the last few years many Indian filmmakers have adopted the short film as a viable way to tell a story. Some [like Manish Jha – Matrubhoomi] have even won international awards and recognition, though their films remain confined to limited screenings at festivals and inaccessible to the general consumer due to an absence of a formal acquisition/marketing structure.
Ethics will produce and market short form entertainment in India using conventional media and other innovative channels.
This is the first time that such a venture is being planned in India. To ensure a wider reach we intend to partner with select players in the corporate sector by offering our films as an unique platform to carry their brand message.
Commercial marketing of short films offers a prime avenue to advertisers to showcase their brands and assosciate with a modern day cultural event. In the last few years International labels marketing/producing short films have developed integrated marketing initiatives such as branded content, embedded ads and logo tickers for clients as diverse as Microsoft and Budweiser. Auto majors like BMW and FORD have already begun using the short film format to build a unique brand assosciation.
As the market for content delivery matures, short form entertainment and integrated film promotions will be as commonplace as the ring tone downloads today. A new market place is evolving where the ultimate buyer and the creator of content will interact in a space free of conventional intermediaries. Ethics will collaborate with hardware and software producers to introduce sustainable models of ‘direct to viewer’, ‘single download’ or ‘pay per view’ audiovisual entertainment. Apart from the films produced by us, Ethics will also provide a platform to other filmmakers and content creators, with similar experimental content, to release their material.
We intend to make our films accessible through both traditional (cinema halls, Retail outlets) and new media (Internet, Mobile phones, DVDs). The larger goal of the venture is to develop and market content in all Indian languages and emerge as a premium content provider for a new age audience.
David Russell, one of the partners at ‘Big Film Shorts’, sees short films as “great gems of truth and enjoyment.”