Viacom’s Cineshorts: Big break to Bollywood for students

MUMBAI: To promote its upcoming release Mary Kom, Viacom18 announced a short film contest early last month called Cineshorts allowing aspiring filmmakers and documentary makers to submit five-minute long films on the theme 'Against All Odds'.

With cash prize worth Rs 1,00,000 for the winner and a chance to be premiered on Pepsi MTV Indies, the registrations have touched the 400 registration mark and the deadline for submission has been pushed to 30 September from  15 August.

Viacom18 Motion Pictures marketing head Rudrarup Dutta said, “As a studio, it is our constant endeavor to identify and promote fresh talent in the industry. Cineshorts is an initiative that provides an exclusive opportunity for budding filmmakers. We believe this is an effective platform for us to identify new talent and nurture an ecosystem that allows fresh talent to contribute new vision and fresh ideas.”

Cineshorts was held in seven cities targeting a total of 28 colleges across Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Manipal, Bangalore, Pune, Delhi/ NOIDA and Kolkata. MICA, Government Film and Television Institute, Indian Institute of Mass Media and Communication, St. Xavier’s College, Manipal Institute of Communication, Whistling Woods International School of Film-making, and Symbiosis College (BBM) were among other colleges that participated in Cineshorts.

The contest will see short movies made on a number of themes. While one participant, a 22-year old BCom graduate, Raj Sampad is making a docu-fiction Dreaming With Sand,  based on the real life story of the most famous sand sculptor in India, Padma Shri Sudarsan Pattnaik, Yogendra Kumaria’s movie focuses on the common man, who has to fight against the rising expenditure and inflation every month, and finally comes out as a winner.

Different participants also revealed various motivations to take part in the contest.Wwhile for some the Rs 1,00,000 cash prize was the focus, others concentrated more on the chance to showcase their work on television.

A student of MGR Govt Film and Television Institute, Janardhan Chikkanna said, “As a short film maker what attracted me towards the competition is the platform to reach a wider audience, which would have been very difficult to reach on my own.”

Adding to that another participant,  Narsee Monjee College graduate Devansh Doshi said, “The motivation for applying is to have professionals see your work and guide you for your future films. It also serves as a great platform for communicate with people of similar interests. Cineshorts has helped me to bring forward my film to a lot of people who have been a part of the industry for years.”

The contest, according to Dutta is solely a Viacom18 Motion Pictures initiative. Speaking on the same he added, “Cineshorts is a Viacom18 Motion Pictures registered property that we plan to nurture and cultivate on a regular basis. The start of this initiative was with Mary Kom but there will be a second season, so to speak, every six months or a year with an upcoming project on our slate. The plan is to up the ante for contestants with every edition and to release the best short film before the feature film so that we can establish the crux of the feature film as well as give the aspiring filmmaker a theatrical release reaching out to a wide audience.”

The campaign is mainly targeting young, aspiring filmmakers who may otherwise not receive a competitive outlet to display their work. “The initiative caters to all Bollywood lovers who want to make it big in the industry without the crutches of family legacy or a godfather,” Dutta reckoned.

Commenting on the marketing and promotion of the campaign, the marketing head revealed,” Since this concept was targeted towards youth, we advertised on platforms that they haunt daily, therefore a large investment on the digital front was the obvious choice. A teaser that said ‘Movie Banane ke Liye Talent Chahiye, Babaji ki Jooti Nahi!’ led the campaign on digital video platforms. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter ensured both awareness as well as engagement. Also, the association with the film Mary Kom helped in garnering attention and traction with a wide cross section of the TG.”

The company also carried out on ground promotions with seminars in colleges that have it as part of their syllabi for mass media and film courses. 

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