Debutant writer-director Vaishali Naik’s short film 7 Star Dinosor Entertainment was an official selection at the Palm Springs International ShortFest 2022, which ran June 21-27.
Still from 7 Star Dinosor Entertainment
The story of the 19-minute film Dinosor Entertainment which was successfully screened at the festival on June 22 revolves around two brothers who don dinosaur costumes and perform at malls, birthday parties and even weddings, but then remain stuck indoors due to the pandemic.
The short film was also screened at Brooklyn Film Festival 2022, Manchester Film Festival 2022, New York Indian Film Festival 2022, as well as Athens International Film + Video Festival 2022. It also won the Audience Award for Best Short footage at IFFLA. (Los Angeles Indian Film Festival) and it is currently screening at the ongoing London Indian Film Festival?
Naik, who has been writing for the screen for 10 years and is also the author of the next film – Baipan Bhaari Deva (Marathi) which will be presented by Jio Studios, and has designed and worked on popular TV shows such as Barrister Babu, Yeh Unn Dinon ki Baat hai and Tu Mera Hero, in an interview with Firstpost, talk about the validation international festivals give to independent filmmakers like her.
She also says that a few months ago, when the idea for the film hit her, it was too weird to resist. “But at the beginning of the writing process, I could not ignore the pandemic and its woes. I witnessed India’s exodus of migrant workers from cities to their villages. The tragedy found its way into the film by organically, but urgently, like a whim, became a liability,” she said.
Excerpts from the interview:
This film has traveled to many films and been loved, but what makes the Palm Springs screening special and different?
As a newbie filmmaker when you google short film festival listings, Palm Springs is among the best. So when you are recognized by a platform like this, it feels special to you.
Why are such distinctions important for independent filmmakers like you?
An independent filmmaker is on a limb, working on experimental themes with minimal resources at his disposal. So at the end of this arduous journey, when a festival rewards you with a selection, welcomes you into its community, it’s reassuring and motivating to continue making independent cinema.
Do you think such validation coming from the international scene changes the perception of your own industry?
It’s both ways actually. Some people in the industry itself encouraged me and made me believe in the film and in myself, and so the film is where it is. But yeah, now that he’s here, a lot more people will give him a chance.
Would you like to tell us about the creation of 7 Star Dinosor Entertainment?
We were in the middle of a pandemic when the idea came to me. There was a nice marching band playing near my house. But when the pandemic hit, the sound of their music stopped. And made me think about how local artists must be suffering in times of lockdown. Once casting began, we caught up with Raj Sutak and Deepak Patil, those who operate the animatronic dinosaurs in the film. These two were actually working at Imagica as dinosaur operators and lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Their personal stories also seeped into the script. But to bring the script to life, I had a rock in the form of my cinematographer Swati Jain, who helped me capture these massive dinosaurs in the chawls of Mumbai.
It seems like you enjoy working in multiple languages and wear many hats, including writer and editor.
I didn’t really feel like I was wearing many hats on this one. To me, editing is almost like an extension of writing. As a writer, you imagine and edit on paper. Once you have the footage, you write the final draft of the story.
You’ve also designed and worked on popular TV shows, so what do you have to say about how many people call TV content regressive these days?
Any art form can be progressive or regressive. Distinguishing television would be unfair. There have also been progressive TV shows. People are trying to express their unique voice and do their best in every industry.
When is 7 Star Dinosor Entertainment releasing in India?
We are still focused on running the festival. Post that we will look for a suitable platform to release the film, anyone who helps us to reach the maximum audience.
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