Friday, February 7, 2014

Five Years: Looking Back from the State of Purposelessness!

6th December, 2008, this forum started its journey. It's been five years already. A lot of things have changed. Lot of people came, worked together, left, then again came back... the city kept on changing.

We released three compilations in three consecutive years, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Our first DVD, Five No Budget Films was received with warmth. After it's release on 31st January, 2010 at the Kolkata International Book Fair the first edition was out of stock in just seven days. We had to come up with a second edition to meet the demand. Season Two: No Budget Film did not meet the same fate. The team was smaller already and efforts were less. Released on 11th January, 2011, the first edition had to wait until the 6th of February before going out of stock. It was becoming more of a question of making our voice reach the surface. Release of the compilations were becoming a symbolic act merely. Our great great comrades who criticize every filmmaker in the world were ending up making pathetic efforts in the name of cinema. Moreover, they never showed any concern about the forum or its activities for at least 10 months every year. All they used to do is showing up during the winter with an idea for which they need production support from the forum. Basically, by mentioning the forum they used to mean the whole-timers. Before the release of Five No Budget Films, there were three people actually working for the forum. Others took part in this and that but they were never committed to that level. In those days, Souva Chattopadhyay used to take care of the blog. Later on he got busy with other things. Also, he never tried his hands on film after his first effort. Before the release of Season Two: No Budget Film no one was available even to burn the DVDs. Arupratan Ghosh, one of the founders, used to take initiative during purchasing raw materials and printing covers, labels etc every year. He was this much committed at least. But even for that, he used to need someone else with him. In 2011, it was Pratik Mandal. Pratik never made a film but he was always there since the middle of 2010 as a great source of support.

No one ever cared how the forum is going to sustain. 2011-2013, each year we attended BYOFF to screen our films there. Snigdhendu Bhattacharya contributed whatever he could in 2011 to partially take care of the costs incurred by participation and travel. In 2012, he also attended the screening of his own film at Pink House. Not only that, when we purchased the domain for our own website (which is down now, because we did not renew it last year) he partially took care of the costs. No one else was there. Even upon asking directly our dear comrades they kept on forgetting to take the necessary actions.

All these times there were whole-timers taking care of the content being pushed on the social networks and promoting the forum, ensuring the sustenance of distribution network, burning DVDs, creating cover art and necessary things related to graphics, even cutting the print materials according to need, editing your God-Knows-What-You-Wanted-To-Shoot kind of raw footage, posting promotional videos, interacting with thousands of people, defending your pathetic efforts with theories, so on and so forth. Of course no one gave a thought about how these guys are going to survive if they keep on working 24 hours voluntarily in exchange of nothing. You could not even bring in new people, neither to become member nor to become consumer. It was all on their shoulder while you were at your respective offices working to earn a living. Now, don't get surprised, this forum should die! Yes! And also, it is already dead because none of you give a damn about anything except making a I-Don't-Have-Any-Idea-What-I'm-Doing-Here kind of movie each year. Sometimes, before the release you become pro-active and send press releases written by yourself, but, my friend, why on earth shall the media here what you have to say when you actually do nothing in a whole year! Not even poster or leaflet campaigns?

3rd Compilation: No Budget Films released on 12th January, 2012 containing five short films again. Mr. Director, Galiff Street-e Robibaar, Shohor aka City, Replica and Smriti... Mrito Janopaud were the films this time. The copies of the first edition finished in April, 2012. We had a new whole-timer voluntarily working with others this time. His name is Twish Mukherjee, who later made Nothing Unusual, the no-budget feature while staying in Delhi. When we launched the fundraising campaign for The 0ne Rupee Film Project in February, 2012, we debated on the issue whether we should try to come up with another DVD also next year simultaneously. Our decision was one big "No"! You did not agree. We asked you to put in your efforts for the fundraising. You said you would do that but also would work for the next compilation. Now, how much effort you actually put in for the 0ne Rupee Film is something that we know, and you know too. If you don't know, ask yourself honestly and you'll get the answer. But the fact is, you could not do anything about the next compilation. We were working hard day and night for the 0ne Rupee Film. You were not there. What were you doing? Shall we even dare to call LFEBF a forum or a collaborative anymore?

Our comrades have become so causal now-a-days that they can't even take care of the copies of their rough-cut. One of our comrades has lost the rough-cut twice in 12 months and now asking again for another copy. Why do you even want to make a film, my dear, with this much precious commitment of yours?

The good news is, another volunteer-filmmaker named Jishnu Mukherjee has joined us in November, 2012 and unlike you he is quite serious about what he does. He has been working for the 0ne Rupee Film sincerely since his 1st day.

Let's face it, we have done what we could have. Leelamochchhob is a much bigger forum and since they have already organized 1st Kolikata Independent Film Festival in September, 2013 there is no reason why someone should think that they cannot take care of something like a DVD release. Atanu Singha (one of the founders of Leelamochchhob) had already self-published and distributed DVD copies of his film "Priyo Morphine" even before the birth of Leelamochchhob. This year, Abhirup Ghosh, a younger guy, is self-distributing DVDs of his film "Sando Da: Year One" from stall no. 243 at the Book Fair currently running at Milan Mela. We have created the wave successfully. Now, if you can't take the forum and it's contradictions and/or problems seriously, let's not continue. Already, since the launch of 0ne Rupee Film Project, everyone is calling LFEBF a production house run by Anamitra Roy and Sriparna Dey (people referred to as "we" in this post). Naturally, if two people take care of all the works of a forum for more than five years, they become the face of it. Younger guys, they won't want to join us as they still have to create their own identity. Coming under this umbrella won't serve their purpose.

So, let's stop here. Don't make a scapegoat out of someone else just because you want to make a film you think significant. Rather you should try and promote younger peoples' works through your personal network. You already have one, don't you?

If you make a significant no-budget film someday, we'll surely do everything we can. Maybe, we can plan an online release together next year, but let's not continue as a forum because even you know by now that in the name of a collaborative effort, LFEBF is basically an organization run by two people.

Forget it!

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