A hot and sunny January in Mumbai saw the arrival of SCI-FI-LONDON-IN-INDIA, a selection of screenings and workshops.
After leaving a cold and rainy Heathrow Airport in London, it was great to put on festival shirts and visit the first of our venues – the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus in Powai. It is an amazing place, tree-lined avenues, water features and some very 60s concrete structures – it is home to the best of the best brainy students. Seems a fitting place to talk about science fiction.
Our first screening was of EXITZ, written by Indian author Farrukh Dhondy and directed by Laurens Postma. We had 400 people turn up at 10.30pm for the show and the Q&A that followed with Laurens. The audience laughed, cheered and generally had a noisy and typical Indian movie experience and the questions came thick and fast (after we got over the initial shyness).
The next day we screened THE AGE OF STUPID and a selection of SFL Short films and ran the first of our workshops.
With 80 students keen on developing SF stories in the room, we talked about good science fiction filmmaking and had them developing storylines – later they had to deliver 25 word pitches. So fresh and very cool ideas came out of the session – watch this space, we will be posting some of the best soon.
Next we travelled to Film City, home of Bollywood movies and did a session at the Whistling Woods Film Institute. A packed room full of film students and the faculty listening on as we talked about low budget scifi and how some really great films had been made for very modest budgets. It was great to hear back from one of the staff “rarely have I seen a seminar that made me want to pick up my camera again” – well, we can’t wait to see some films folks!
Following our events in Mumbai we headed off to Ahmedadad. Here we held screenings and sessions at the fantastic National Institute of Design, a very cool place indeed and a really eager crowd for the films and workshops. Again it was great to hear feedback and a few of the attendees walked away in deep discussion about when to start shooting their SF film, cool!
We got the NID students pitching some really great and very fresh SF story ideas, be great to see some of these on the big screen.
We will certainly be doing more collaborations with NID and hope to run some much bigger workshops and filmmaking sessions.
Following NID, we went to the DARPANA Performing Arts Academy – this was a great venue with a wonderful outdoor performance space, all our screenings were under the stars (on a great projector and sound system!) – the place had a great atmosphere.
We ran the workshops in one of the dance spaces – outside! We all kicked off our shoes and talked about SF with a very small but very knowledgeable group. Again, it was so cool to hear such fresh story ideas – a mix of tech, SF tropes and something… well, Indian I suppose.
Overall we were made very welcome everywhere, we met some great people and hope to do it again soon.
Thanks to the British Council and all the venues and hosts – up the arts!
The SFL Team.