Cineville Film Festival: An Annual Celebration of Indie Cinema by DU Students

Ever year since 2018, Film Tantra, the Filmmaking and Film Appreciation Society of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Delhi University, has been celebrating lesser-known films, the art of filmmaking and simply the art of appreciating cinema at their Cineville Annual Film Festival (CAFF).

Sponsored by Mubi, Final Draft, Shorts TV, IFI, BRB and Yocket, CAFF – the largest student-run film festival in India – will be celebrating its fourth edition online this year from April 9 to 12.

Cineville Annual Film Festival

“CAFF began with an aim to familiarise the Indian audience with Indie cinema, meaningful films and offbeat concepts. We screen several compelling films every year, followed by workshops, debates and discussions as a part of our festival,” says Harsh Kumar, the president of Film Tantra.

He explains that the main reason behind accommodating novel films in their annual festival and into the lives of people is “to deconstruct conventional and traditional cinema and to provide people a chance to reunite with their creative freedoms – something that we’ve been taught to suppress due to our education which is largely instrumental”.

A still from ‘Visitors’ (2020) by Scott Lazer

This year, 18 films will be screened at CAFF, including the National Award winner for Best Non-Feature Film, An Engineered Dream by Hemant Gaba; Chuhedaani (Mousetrap) by Ravi Shankar Kaushik; Miss Man by Tathagata Ghosh, among several others.

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“The films will be streamed live on our YouTube channel followed by a Q&A session with the directors, a few of them being Hemant Gaba, Sandeep A. Varma and Saurav Sinha. We will also have panel discussions with filmmakers such as Florian Reichelt, Ayush Wadhwa, Abdul Baloch, Rupan Bal among others, which would then be followed by masterclasses. And on the last day of the festival, we will have ‘Drishyam’ – a filmmaking competition that invited entries exclusively from student filmmakers,” says Kumar.

Film Tantra

Founded in 2017 by the students of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Film Tantra consists of 23 team members.

“At Film Tantra, we aim to make meaningful films and bring the best of independent cinema to our audience with an endeavour to break barriers of language, form and subject matter in storytelling. We intend to familiarise student filmmakers with engaging films and their makers in order to make filmmaking a relatively more viable form of expression,” says Kumar.

According to Kumar, besides their annual film festival, they have a podcast channel called Cinetalkies and a blog named Between The Frames wherein they review and discuss offbeat cinema.

“While at Cinetalkies, student filmmakers talk to filmmakers and professionals about their experience of working within the industry, at Between the Frames, via our reviews, we aim to initiate a discussion on films that are making rounds across all the major festivals in the country, compile a list of all the screenings taking place in the capital and regularly post pieces on ongoing trends in cinema,” he says.

All images have been provided by Harsh Kumar.

Featured image: Team Film Tantra