- Startup’s brand solutions are unique due to its mentorship process
- #ACutBeyond was a filmmaking competition aimed at empowering independent film makers
ORGANISED by Singapore-based startup Filmwallas and supported by HCL Technologies, an Indian multinational IT services company with US$7.2 billion in annual revenues, #ACutBeyond was a global filmmaking competition aimed at empowering independent film makers all over the world to tell their stories and showcase their work to a global audience.
The theme of the competition revolved around next generation technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, cyber security, automation, digital and analytics, and how these technological advancements are juxtaposed in today’s world and human relationships.
The total prize money for the contest was US$10,000. Details about the contest can be found here.
About 2,000 filmmakers from around the world expressed interest in the contest, and 70 teams participated in the contest. They went through a mentorship process with many Bollywood experts who guided them to fine-tune their films, from scripting to the production stage.
“What makes Filmwallas’ brand solutions unique is its mentorship process. For a long time, brands have looked down upon crowdsourcing of videos because quality becomes an issue,” said Filmwallas CEO and founder Zafar Anjum (pic, above).
“Filmwallas makes sure that its contestants go through an enrichment process by qualified Bollywood mentors who are experts in their own fields. It’s this process that enables us to source high-quality films for brands at a very low cost.”
The winners of #ACutBeyond
The four winners were selected by a jury panel, consisting of award-winning filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor (pic, top right), veteran actor Ashish Vidyarthi, HCL head of Corporate Marketing Apurva Chamaria (pic, bottom right) and HCL chief marketing officer Matt Preschern.
“#ACutBeyond was a drive to democratise filmmaking and enable every amateur director to pursue the dream of filmmaking,” said Chamaria.
“Rapid technological advancements in the realm of filmmaking stand at the forefront of this change, and through this one-of-a-kind partnership with Filmwallas we wanted to be a part of this revolution.
“Through this process HCL was able to crowdsource video content of remarkable quality, showcasing cutting edge technology as an enabler for unique relationships,” he added.
The winning films explored and re-imagined how technologies would impact human relationships
The Complaint by Mrinal Bahukhandi, which won the first prize, tells the poignant tale of how a Muslim technician and Indian retiree reconcile with old emotional scars over the course of a laptop diagnostic check.
“I asked myself the simple question on the ‘need for technology’ in our lives. This brought me to the conclusion that technology brings us close and makes things easier... it is a bridge,” said director Bahukhandi.
The short film, launched in partnership with Hamaramovie.com, on India’s Independence Day (Aug 15), was widely appreciated and has garnered more than 80,000 views on YouTube.
The Priceless Art which depicts the moving narrative of how a small boy raised money for his ailing sister through the power of instant messaging technologies and the kindness of humanity, emerged as first runner up.
“Most of us are so involved with social media that we forget to stop for a minute and think about the welfare of others,” said director Mohd Asif Hameed. “We can still bring about a huge change with that little piece of technology we carry in our hands and pockets every day.”
These films point towards how ubiquitous technologies — like cell phones and laptops — when harnessed by the right people and intentions, can have far-reaching social impacts, while other films explored the relationship between newer technologies and human connections.
The team that produced The Hajji was second runner-up for their moving story of how a boy employed the power of virtual reality to help his neighbour’s dream of experiencing The Hajj come true.
The other second runner-up, The 8th Sense, was a stellar imagining of how virtual reality and automation could change the way humans live, from the simple action of watering plants to attending interviews with a cybernetic presence.
Opportunity for budding filmmakers
The winners observed how #ACutBeyond was an inspiring experience to challenge themselves and promote their works.
“Film making itself is a challenge and a short film is like telling a story in limited time without affecting the moral of the story. Some difficulties during the shooting of the film The Hajji made us more accurate and passionate,” said directors Kushan Shan and Jalpa Joshi.
Sriram Sundar, the director of The 8th Sense, described how the theme of the competition helped “in tickling my mind to work on such a genre which I might have not done generally. Filmwallas has helped us to showcase our creation to a great jury which we strongly believe would help us in our journey”.
A platform for different communities
HCL and the winners also praised Filmwallas for the successful event and its vision to provide filmmakers with a one-stop portal for resources.
Bahukhandi observed how it was “about time that all facets of film-making come under an umbrella” to streamline the process of filmmaking.
“Filmwallas is a much-needed platform to connect a disorganised sector such as the film industry.”
“It was a great experience to work on #ACutBeyond with Filmwallas, the entire journey from conceptualisation to execution was enriching. Zafar Anjum, founder of Filmwallas, is highly experienced in this field and helped us sail through this journey,” noted Chamaria.
“We would definitely recommend Filmwallas as a platform to crowdsource video content. Based out of Singapore, this platform gives you access to talent from across the world,” he added.
The winning films can be viewed on Filmwallas Youtube channel here.
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