Virtual club launches movie nights to bridge fans, film

Virtual club launches movie nights to bridge fans, film

FUC's Saturday Movie Night sees Kannada film fraternity on virtual platform

Created by Filmmakers United Club (FUC), 'Saturday Movie Night', the virtual discussion that features actors, directors and cinematographers, reaches more than 8,000 cinephiles on YouTube and Facebook — way beyond the reach of any such film appreciation event that ever happened in Kannada.

The magic repeats every Saturday evening when FUC sits together to watch and discuss films.

Film appreciation discussions are unfamiliar for a general audience. Witnessed only by a limited set of audience, such as attendees and members of culture camps, film clubs or festivals, film appreciation remained an elite activity for Kannada audience. The 'Saturday Movie Night' programme broke through this ceiling.

The programme achieves another objective — bridging the gap between makers of parallel or bridge cinema and popular cinema, by providing a platform for the exchange of views.

“We learnt a lot by watching filmmakers like Upendra. It always helps to know what they think of the movies discussed, it gives new perspectives,” says K M Chaitanya, director of ‘Aa Dinagalu’, who co-curated the series of programmes for July, along with P Sheshadri, the award-winning Kannada auteur.

He adds that mainstream filmmakers, though they may not make artistic cinema, might take a liking to art films, and it always helps to know what they think.

“We believe that both art cinema and commercial cinema should be watched and reacted to by both the sides. We will showcase and discuss more films from across the world, India and Kannada,” he explains.

“We have always complained about content-driven films not getting an audience. But we have never tried to engage with the audience,” he says, adding that such engagement will help widen the horizon for audiences and filmmakers.

“In the 70’s, people watched movies like ‘Samskara’ and ‘Ghatashraddha’ in theatres. It was a golden era. While the media boxed such movies into the “art” category, viewers developed an aversion towards them, and a clear barrier developed between “mainstream” and “art” movies were built," says P Sheshadri.

This resulted in a disconnect with the audience, and content-driven films began performing poorly in theatres.

The year 2020 provided an opportunity to change this. The panelists log in from the comfort of their homes and everyone saves a lot in terms of time and travel. 

Arpana H S, film critic and journalist, following FUC’s programmes from Hyderabad, feels the addition of popular filmmakers and stars to such programmes will “help 'de-intellectualise' the discussions on films”.

“It helps people who want to understand cinema on a deeper level but don’t know where and how to start,” she adds.

There is another advantage. The mainstream filmmakers and stars who participate also attract their own fans — casual movie watchers who never explored cinema as art — into the process of film appreciation, thereby getting exposed to a variety of cinema.

Once directors get busy with their work in the post-Covid-19 era, will the momentum keep up? “Yes,” says Sheshadri, adding that with more than 40 filmmakers in the club, it may not be difficult with proper planning.

Weekend gala of events by FUC

My First Film: Every Friday. Filmmakers talk about their first film, the experience, thrill, mistakes and what they learnt from it.

Saturday Movie Night: The name of the movie is revealed on Saturday at 6.45 pm in the Telegram channel (t.me/fucmovienight). A panel that has a mix of experts and filmmakers discusses the film after 9 pm, while the audience joins them remotely.

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