Jazeer Thekkekara is just three-short-films-old, but he sure has lost count of the number of international film festivals that he has been invited to. Jazeer directed the short films Opportunity, Breath Here and Ring, but little did he realise that these three films would take him across borders. He is back now at his home in Kozhikode, after showcasing two of his short films at the prestigious Best of India Short Film Festival 2018, California, — it was an official selection. Today, he has embarked on a bigger journey and has roped in an international cast and crew for his upcoming full-length feature film Elemento of Human Being.
Jazeer did not have the slightest hunch that filmmaking would be a part of his life. “My initial job was that of a truck driver in Dubai, I was just 18 years old then,” says Jazeer, who returned to Kerala after a while with the hope of starting a business. “The area I chose was ‘plastic waste’. I started a campaign called ‘Mass Action Plastic-free’ Kozhikode. A friend and I registered a company and organised a huge human chain and conducted awareness classes for students as well. But unfortunately that failed and put me in a huge debt. I lost everything after that,” he says.
His inspiration to make films started after facing a round of public humiliation that branded him as a person with no vision. “I wanted to prove my worth and that day I decided I wanted to give this a shot,” he says.
He explains his short films in detail, by saying, “The three are part of a series that comes under the Pancha Boothangal. The film Ring is in Arabic, Opportunity has only music and no dialogues, and Breath Here starring footballer I.M. Vijayan has neither music or dialogue, the entire 5.27-minute-long film is made up of breathing alone. These three represent jalam, agni and vayu. I will be finishing the series with bhoomi and akasham as theme after the feature film project.”
Jazeer’s works have been showcased at Central Portland Environmental Film Festival, USA; Al Nahj International Film Festival, Iraq; Fabriano International FIlm Festival, Italy; Ekotop International Film Festival, Prague and Mequinnesa International Film Festival, Spain, to name a few.
The short films were also showcased at a number of international festivals held in India. Talking about Elemento of Human Being, his upcoming film, he says,
“The speciality of this movie is the story and direction is the only category handled from India by me. Andrea Benjamin Manenti and Omar Ankedoo of Italy will handle the cinematography. Golden Globe winner musician Marco Werba is the music director. The SFX and body painting will be handled by Giulia Chimp Giorgi from Italy. Award-winning director Antonio La Camera has agreed to assist me for the project. Italian designer David Battista Marello will handle the editing. The actors who have agreed to be part of the project are from the US, including the winner of Miss Washington International 2017 — Savvy Morton. The other important characters who are part of the story are four youngsters and a professor. We are yet to zero in on whom to cast as the professor.”
He adds, “The interesting part is that all these people became part of this project after they saw and appreciated my previous works. They are here with me for the love of cinema. All these people are respected, some are renowned. I am the odd one out here,” he says humbly though his short films have been rated 8.5 out of 10 in International film rating.
Jazeer says his upcoming film Elemento of Human Being is inspired from his own life experiences. “A person is always born pure and then with time, situations slowly change the human in the person into a monster. The law of nature is to annihilate such monsters. This is the basic thread of the project,” he concludes.