In a new project titled My Melbourne, filmmakers Kabir Khan, Imtiaz Ali, Rima Das and Onir will mentor selected Victorian filmmaking teams to create one compiled film which will premiere at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) next year. The short films will be based on themes of race, disability, sexuality and gender.
“This exciting initiative gives Victorian screen practitioners a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with some of the world’s best filmmakers and also develop relationships with them. I am delighted and thrilled that IFFM has secured four of India’s most diverse voices of independent cinema for these workshops and the creation of four short films on the core values of IFFM – diversity and inclusivity,” said IFFM Festival Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange.
The festival is calling for authentic migrant experience story ideas. Each of the four selected teams will be assigned a budget to create an original script, striving for creativity, originality and pure storytelling.
Kabir, Imtiaz, Rima, and Onir will workshop and develop the selected stories and oversee pre-production with the teams via Zoom. Once travel restrictions are lifted, the four filmmakers will travel to Melbourne to shoot the films.
“The last few months have been full of life lessons for all of us. Viewing stories of identity in the context of the diverse society that we are all a part of is quintessential for us to chart our path ahead. I am looking forward to meeting a new set of people and understanding their life stories for the screen,” said Imtiaz.
Onir feels the role of a filmmaker is to trigger a dialogue. “The world we are living in calls for fresh discussions on inclusivity and diversity to reiterate strong value systems for our audiences. I am glad for the opportunity and hope it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.
Rima considers it as an honour to receive this invitation.
“It’s essential for filmmakers to examine the world around them from the prism of its socio-political context. The short film will allow us to bring in authentic lived-in stories that often get lost in popular culture,” she said.
Kabir feels that celebration of “our diversity is a dialogue that should be fostered in current times. In the post-pandemic world, being one with each other in a community should be the single most important takeaway. The virus has shown us the futility of everything else. I am excited at the opportunity presented by IFFM and looking forward to the experience”.