The Bangalore Rooftop Film Festival (BRTFF) was started as a medium for independent film makers to come together and showcase their films/shorts and documentaries to film-loving audience and have a fruitful discussion around them. We also have some interesting and thought-provoking films from World cinema which are displayed here. This festival is based on the concept of â€œUnconferencesâ€ where everybody is a participant and everybody tries and contributes equally to the festival â€“ either by screening their film, discussing a film, getting snacks/beverages and arranging venue/projector/screen/speakers, etc. It has no fixed organizer or organization but a random set of people get together every month or so and have this festival to celebrate meaningful cinema. Our favorite Scotch Whisky, Black Dog Scotch Whisky was a perfect companion to the wonderfully made short films and acclaimed foreign films.
The first BRTFF was held in my friend jackolâ€™s house at Hebbal. Because of the bad weather (overcast conditions/cold winds), we had to move it indoors and had it in his really big hall and living room complete with a staircase which could double up as seating place. We planned to start at 7pm on 07/07/07 but because of bad Bangalore traffic, people got delayed and most of them started trickling in only by 8pm and by 8.30 when we started our first film, there were 35 people who were choc-a-bloc in the hall waiting for the evening to get started.
We got the ball rolling by screening â€œThat Four Letter Wordâ€ by Sudhish Kamath, an independent film maker from Chennai. This movie is about 4 upper-middle class urban friends caught at the cross-roads of their life not knowing where their career/life/love will lead them. I was really impressed by the movie and the way they managed to make a very professional looking movie it at a very low budget of Rs.5 lakhs and actually managed to release it in theatres in Chennai. After the movie, there was a discussion and Sudhish was able to fend off all the brickbats and receive the bouquets.
Next to showcase their films were two short-film makers from Bangalore, Vatsa and Gowtham. Vatsa showed his short films â€œEvolutionâ€ â€“ about how to save fuel for the future and â€œMission Zeroâ€ â€“ about how a group of police officers combat crime and Gowtham showed his short film in Kannada, â€œBirukuâ€ which talked about a fatherâ€™s shattered dream for his son. Very short and crisp, I was surprised at the professionalism with which these guys made the movies. They also announced that they are looking for acting and production support for their next venture â€œH Crossâ€ which is going to be a film in Kannada and English and released in multiplexes across Bangalore. Great going guys! All the best!
Pawan Kumar, another independent film maker from Bangalore who has been in this industry for the last seven years talked about the troubles that independent film makers have to take to ensure that their movie is made and reaches out to the audience. He showcased his film â€œA perfect Dayâ€ which talked about how spastic people look at our world and â€œDream Catcherâ€ which showed a guy shooting a film and we get to know something shocking at the end. Really touching and powerfully made films. Pawan called his films â€œNo budget filmsâ€ and seeing the message that he could put across with the scarce resources he had, all of us applauded his efforts.
Rabi Kisku, an ex-IITian and a full-time film maker rounded up the quartet of film makers that sparkled that evening. His film â€œSilicon Jungleâ€ is a story of 3 friends whose dreams, ambitions and struggles begin and end in IIT. A very well professionally made film, it drew nods from the audience as they thought back to their college lives and secretly admired the way Rabi portrayed that time of their life on the screen.
During this time, we also dig into the pizzas and into wonderful conversation with all the strangers with whom we had cozied up over the evening. It was great to see such a well-behaved and well-mannered thinking crowd in Bangalore. We decided to open Black Dog Scotch Whisky bottle and have few drinks of it as it helps us to unwind and relax while watching world class Cinema and short films.
Christopher Nolanâ€™s â€œFollowingâ€ was the next. Shot in B/W and played at 1am, you would think we would have no takers for it. But surprisingly everybody was awake because of the gripping storyline and the dialouges between the principal characters which sets the pace in the movie. The twist at the end was like a rude shock and shook some of us from the sleep!
Keeping up the pace, we played â€œRun Lola Runâ€ which was on my wish list for a long time now. It was really great to see the alternate versions of the movie and I was impressed by the directorâ€™s ideas and shooting styles. One very interesting thing for me was the â€œAnd then..â€ which is â€œWhat happens nextâ€ to some of the characters that Lola runs into while.. well.. running!
Our 7th film for the evening/early morning was an adventure-documentary called â€œTouching the Voidâ€. This was about two guys climbing the risky â€œSiula Grandeâ€ mountain peak in the Andes in South America. This is a story of their descent in which one guy abandons the other and one has an almost fatal accident but miraculously survives to tell the tale. A wonderful film to end the film fest as it reminded all of us not to abandon even if you staring down the road to hell.
By the time the last movie finished, it was 7.15am and we actually had close to 15 people watching the film whereas the others just crashed on the mattresses. Said our good-byes, exchanged our numbers, promised to have it again (maybe every month) and took a group picture for our troubles! Interestingly Black Dog Scotch Whisky kept us awake as it allowed us to destress and enjoy the wonderful creations of filmmakers across the world!