“The history of cinema began with short films”
Someone once said there are no short cuts in life. Looks like back then they did not know about short films. Gujarat is slowly exposing itself to an all new genre of cinema—short films. It’s crisp, precise, engaging and most importantly brief. In recent times many short film clubs have cropped up in the state, from MS University in Baroda, NID to IIM-Ahmedabad and City Pulse Institute of Film and Television in Gandhinagar. Away from multiplexes, there are small but committed groups which gather to watch alternative films, from Russian folk stories, to animated shorts from Taiwan, Finland and Indonesia, to get a taste of world cinema. Talking about the trend, Cyrus Dastur, founder of Shamiana Short film club says, “We tend to forget that the history of cinema began with short films and they’ve survived the onslaught of feature films, television and every other source of entertainment.”
Dastur’s short film club, which was one of the first to introduce this genre of cinema to Gujarat, is probably the only film club in the state that had a steady run of five years. He says, “In that sense, short films are not something that has just popped up. It’s only now that people are waking up to the genre and realising its essence. Today, in Gujarat it almost has a cult-like following.”
Shamiana had its first screening in a small café in 2009 in Ahmedabad and the following year in Baroda. Although, India has one of the largest film industries in the world, there are very few platforms in the country that allow short-film makers to showcase and discuss their films.
“The idea is to bring the muddled short film industry across the spectrum together,” says Dastur.
Short films basically are democratising the process of filmmaking and it’s only natural that with technology becoming more accessible, more people will take to making movies. “Gujarat has seen a lot of young and aspiring filmmakers trying their hand at shorts and a lot of them have been good. Gujarat is only catching up to what the world and India has been up to for the last few years,” he adds.