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Website for indie shorts offers platform to new filmmakers
SHWETA SHARMA  25th May 2013

A still from the film Sharkrasya Gajah

ack of financial and infrastructural support and a dedicated platform to showcase their work are some of the challenges faced by young independent filmmakers in the country today. Reaching out to their audience remains a distant dream, "unless they are really well connected in the film fraternity". Attempting to help the indie filmmaking industry find a solution to their problems, Preety Ali, Pallavi Rohatgi and Vinay Mishra conceptualised HumaraMovie, an online destination for quality, independent, and alternate content.

"While we started with being focused on short content, over the course of the 150+ shorts that we facilitated, we realised that we have the potential, and the talent pool to try and take some of this talent to the next step with a feature film. We have produced Greater Elephant by Srinivas Sunderrajan and are now trying to help some filmmakers make their next feature. To sum it up, the reasons for HumaraMovie's existence can largely be: lack of an avenue for talent to showcase their work, availability of a consumer base, large pool of aspiring and talented filmmakers and huge amounts of content available," says Rohatgi, a private equity lawyer by training who moved back to India with the idea of making low-budget indie cinema.

Presently available for free, Rohatgi shares that they have over 5,500 people subscribing to their YouTube channel every month, and over a thousand people doing so on the website. Explaining the idea behind HamaraMovie, she says that India is ripe for a digital media revolution where consumers are going to demand quality, nuanced and diverse content. "HumaraMovie is creating a community of likeminded filmmakers/content creators, audience, and produces for both short and feature films. It releases one new film a week. We believe that a good story needs to be told. And, it will find its audience. It is our objective to provide cinematic expression to these stories," she adds.

Apart from short films, HumaraMovie is associated with directors like Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Kashyap, Anurag Basu, Vikramaditya Motwane and Rajat Kapoor. — Pallavi Rohatgi

HamaraMovie follows a process based on which the films are chosen to be uploaded onto the website. According to Ali, the process starts from the story/concept, which the filmmaker sends. Post the evaluation of the script, if found suitable, the team sits down with the filmmaker to chart out the production plan and schedule. She adds that HumaraMovie supports the filmmaker with all the equipment, post production suit and money. It also promotes the film once it goes on the channel, and in some cases takes it to large film festivals.

"In the last one year we have managed to upload around 90 short films and currently have at least 100 odd films in the library ready for upload. The content for the channel is majorly sourced by young aspiring filmmakers from in and around Mumbai, viz Bhopal, Delhi, Kolkata. Apart from short films, HumaraMovie is associated with directors like Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Kashyap, Anurag Basu, Vikramaditya Motwane and Rajat Kapoor who provide content for the channel," she says.Image 2nd

However, she is quick to add that HumaraMovie is a facilitator of talent, and closely works with filmmakers to ensure that they get whatever they want. "HumaraMovie may make suggestions in the process, but does not intrude into the creative space," Rohatgi says.

Srinivas Sunderrajan, who received financial help from HamaraMovie for his film Greater Elephant, says that despite being a normal idea — a one-stop-shop for short films — it is a great initiative as it brings the content together on one platform, unlike the diverse YouTube.

"Today, everything is first uploaded on the web; but it still caters to a niche audience. However if Aamir Khan or Imtiaz Ali share their work on the Internet, then going by the prevalent mentality, the web would be perfect platform for a release. The whole idea is to break this name dependency, and acknowledge the work regardless of the platform," he says.

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