Veenu Sandhu talks to the organisers and participants of ONECLOUDFEST, the first film festival on the networking site.
Mira Chendler, a violinist with an orchestra in Amsterdam, was walking in the woods one day when she came across what looked like the form of a man carved on the bark of a tree. Feeling sorry for “him,” she decided to make an etching. An animation followed. The character Mr Atse, who is made out of pieces of thread, is now part of ONECLOUDFEST, the first film festival on Facebook which is, as the organisers who themselves are aspiring independent filmmakers put it, “bringing independent filmmakers to audiences everywhere.”
Chendler’s 5-minute 50-second animation, Mr Atse In Pursuit Of An Ascending Career, is just one example of how films that might deserve to be seen but are not distributed widely are now reaching millions across the world through a social networking site with more than 50 million active users. Among the others is Bye. Goodbye, a 14-minute 50-second narrative by Oleksil Klymenko about a woman who pushes her beloved boyfriend to go to work. The boyfriend is a firefighter and the date is September 11. Klymenko, who calls himself a novice in filmmaking, is finishing his first year at the New York Film Academy. “I made a decision to try to find something about myself in filmmaking about two years ago while travelling along the Golden Triangle. So thanks, India,” he says.
“To tell a story in 10 to 15 minutes and make people feel and care is sometimes much harder and challenging than in a feature film,” adds Klymenko.
The festival short-list currently has 10 short narratives, two animations and short documentaries each and five music videos. Some of the people behind them are as fascinating as their work. Alexandria-born F C Rabbath, whose 2010 love story Drawn is one of the entries, is an engineer, filmmaker, animator, author, photographer, graphic designer, linguist and inventor who is said to be working on a “secret project”. Director Maggie Franks’ lighthearted documentary, The Board Meeting, was a result of her quest to find out how to grow old. Her parents, she says, didn’t age well. She found her answer in her surfing partners, two 79-year-old retired executives, Don and Ross, who surfed thrice a week with one agenda — “keep surfing in their 80s till the kids take the car keys away”.
Marcos Nine’s A Comic Author X-Ray from Spain is an intriguing documentary that takes one through the imagination of comic author David Rubin. How will a man who has created thousands of stories react or behave when he himself becomes the main character? Will he resist, or will he make up a story about himself and how chaotic is his mind? The fest also has a bit of horror thrown in. Through The Glass, which asks the viewers to “believe everything you see”, succeeds in spooking in five minutes and 14 seconds flat.
“We have received about 68 submissions since we opened calls for entries in end-March. They are coming from everywhere: the US, Sweden, Austria, Australia, UK, India, Japan, Spain, the Netherlands and Finland,” says festival director and founder Sy Smensgård. The two Indian-origin contestants, Rohit Gupta (Another Day Another Life) and Sanjay Rawal (Ocean Monk), are both based in the US.
The year-long festival will culminate with the final round between December and February. The winner will be chosen from the number of “Likes” the film/music video gets from the audience.