One of the 10 venues for the ongoing 20th International Children’s Film Festival being held in the city, Prasad’s is buzzing with students who have come from across the country to participate. Children are seen walking in and out of the screens, watching one movie after another, and discussing their views on the films afterwards. “I watched Poorna and really enjoyed her story. I am looking forward to the other movies that are being screened. There is something to learn from all these films,” says Praveen S., who has come all the way from Adilabad to be a part of the festival. Another student, Priyanka, who has come from Maharastra, adds, “We discuss about the movies after they end. The exposure to children’s films is good because we don’t get to watch these movies in theatres back home.”
What’s new in this edition?
Interestingly, this year, the films have travelled to several districts of Telangana. Dr Shravan Kumar, the director of the festival, says, “We wanted to reach out to all the people of the state which has been such a wonderful host for so many years now. Since the festival happens in Hyderabad, I know that the traction of children from this state is more. The children, who have the opportunity to come to Hyderabad, go and tell the story to other children, but it is our duty to reach out to them as well. So we thought of reaching out to them rather than waiting for them to come to us.”
Shravan added that he did not want celebrities to be a part of the festival just for photo-ops. “I didn’t want them to be present just as a glamour quotient. All the celebrities have their own stories to share — how did they reach the place they are at currently. And they can bring in that experience as jury members when they evaluate. We have Madhu Chopra, Sakshi Tanwar, Amala Akkineni and Dia Mirza. We have better chances of being accepted in theatres if these people rate the movies as the best,” he explains.
There’s lots to learn!
Besides movie screenings, children can also be a part of workshops and open forums which are being held every day. Dhvani Desai, an animation filmmaker, who is conducting a workshop on animation and visual effects, says, “The response from children has been good. I have students from Class VII, VIII and IX. There is so much for these kids to know about the specialties involved in animation and I have got more than 100 stories to tell them.” Besides the animation workshop, there are more learning sessions being held by Deepa Kiran on storytelling, Ashok Kaul on filmmaking and Dia Mirza on reconnecting with nature.
Stars in the making
The Little Directors' section, in which films for children are made by children themselves, features a movie, Dosth, made by a group of Telugu girls. Pravallika S., a 16-year-old student, born to a farmer in Warangal and G. Sravani have acted in this movie, which was helmed by 15-year-old Y. Anusha from Adilabad, whose father is a farmer as well. “While others buy new and expensive clothes, I will be seen wearing old, torn clothes in the movie. In spite of that, I find a friend in Pravallika’s character. Her mother scolds her for being friends with someone like me, who is not of their status, but Pravallika doesn’t pay heed. I am good with my academics and always stand first. The movie revolves around our friendship and tries to give out a valuable piece of information,” shares 16-year-old Sravani, who is from Medak. The girls learnt acting and filmmaking at a 15-day-long free summer workshop held in Hyderabad. Besides Dosth, they have also made another movie called Tillu Gadi Veeragadha.
“I want to make more movies,” says Anusha, while Pravallika adds, “Our parents were at first apprehensive to let us pursue filmmaking and acting, but once they found out that our movie has got selected, they realised that we were doing something right.” The teenage trio wants to continue pursuing their passion for acting and filmmaking in the future.