It must have been the year 2007 when I started editing every video I could grab. A couple of years later, I made my first film with a digital video camera, with help from friends who did everything from acting to making props and managing other production duties. A no-budget filmmaking forum was co-founded with these friends, under the name Little Fish Eat Big Fish, and Bengal’s first widely recognized no-budget filmmaking movement started during the following months. The same year, we started working on a documentary on Subimal Mishra, one of the prolific anti-establishment authors of Kolkata during his time. The following year, in January 2010, my first film ‘Jean Luc Godard Had No Script’ was compiled with four other no-budget films (The Sandbook, A Hiding, Or A Horror Film & Long Live (all) The Revolution) from my like-minded friends and published as a self-distributed DVD in the Book Fair, Kolkata. We sold more than 100 copies of the Five No Budget Films that year. There has been no looking back hence.
Season Two: No Budget Film followed in 2011 in which I had directed a forty-minute segment of a one hour film titled The Secret Footage; the other segment being the work of my friend Snigdhendu Bhattacharya. ‘Two Or Three Things About Visuals’ by Sriparna Dey, ‘Memories’ by Abhishek Bhattacharyya and ‘Ballad Of The Spring’ by Arupratan Ghosh were the other films in our second edition. After a year of freelancing, in 2012, we rushed to pen and shoot our films for the annual DVD publication which had acquired a nationwide pool of buyers by now. On January 12th, as promised to ourselves, we released No Budget Films: 3rd Compilation and were surprised to see the results of our online promotion when people from abroad expressed their interest in watching the films. All the films from the three compilations can be purchased or rented from zinemaya.com.
A dream turns five years old. Now, it can walk on its own.
A seedling of an idea had sprouted in my mind back then. The model for self-production, self-promotion and self-distribution that I’d wanted to test five years back had proved itself. A bigger leap is the only way ahead of us. I shared the idea with those friends of mine who had supported me through thick and thin, throughout these years. I pitched the idea to the fellow filmmakers who attended the Bring Your Own Film Festival at Puri, this year. The morsels of second thoughts that were left were erased, and the response propelled my plans further ahead. The One Rupee Film Project has begun.
The preliminary target is to make a docu-fiction film on the independent filmmaking scenario in my country, India. The secondary target is to reach the audience through this One Rupee Film Project. Since making films without a budget happens to be my popular area of specialisation, One Indian Rupee from everyone I come across would be enough I think. But, I need everyone, yes. It’s not an appeal for their money; it’s an appeal for their attention, not just towards Little Fish Eat Big Fish, but every other aspiring filmmaker in India who takes up the camera and fulfils his aspirations without caring for or fearing anyone or anything that stands in his way.
Whoever gives as much as a Rupee towards this project will be personally promised a digital copy of the feature length film, which I hope to finish by next year. All I’m asking for is one moment of consideration and a minimum value of currency to mark it. The response has been overwhelming so far, given that we collected more than two thousand Indian Rupees in the span of forty eight hours. I have started a blog here: http://onerupeefilm.blogspot.in/ which I’ll update as frequent as updates happen.
Yesterday I launched the campaign on facebook too
Life is slow when you are fighting every day. But when I look back, it doesn’t seem so. I hope that the project succeeds without hurting any sentiments, be it political, communal or some other sensitive type. Filmmaking is an existential essential for people like me. It’s time we woke the asleep up.
Check out the Website here