A "bring your own film" festival at Puri

BY byoff team| IN Regional Media | 31/01/2004
This is to take place on the beach at Puri. No entry formalities, no selection process, no hassles. Just land up with your films. Documentary. Fiction. Animation. Rushes. Rough cuts....

                        Bring Your Own Film Festival, Puri, Orissa, India.

                              February 20 to 23(or 24,or 25, or ...)  2004

This is about the Bringyourownfilm Festival (BYOFF) that is to take place on the beach at Puri. No entry formalities, no selection process, no hassles. Just land up with your films. Documentary. Fiction. Animation. Rushes. Rough cuts.... Whatever you would like to share with fellow film makers, viewers, students... and other artists. Theatre wallas, designers, painters, musicians... In the heady atmosphere of sun, sand, water, breeze ... Magic.

For our first mailer on this festival, please write in to us at byoffpuri@rediffmail.com   There has been an overwhelming response to our initial mail which sent out the idea of such a festival. We were busy coping with the mails and also had to rework our strategy as our festival will be bigger than we had imagined. We are now looking for sponsors to cover our basic costs, (which are still very low). Though we are planning it for four days, the festival remains open ended and will finish when participants want it to, depending of course on factors like resources and venue.

There have been many questions coming in about the festival. We hope the following will answer all of them:

To be a part of the festival all you have to do is to land up at Puri. Simple. If you have a film to bring, great, otherwise just bring your self.The festival is open to all. Though it is essentially a film festival, it is not meant only for film makers. Anyone can participate. A producer from Mumbai wrote that his brother who is from the corporate world, and has no background in film, is keen on attending, and asked if will he be allowed. Well sir, everyone is welcome... please bring him on board. Feel free to  bring your own brothers and sisters...And if you are an artist and would like to perform something, some time and space can be worked out for you.

The venue, Pink House (off Chakrateertha Road) is a private space which is a hotel and restaurant right on the beach, at a relatively clean and quiet part of the town. One of the most beautiful places to stay and eat, the Pink House is listed in all important guide books. Interestingly, the lower floor is completely sunk in the sand . So, amateur archaeologists, bringyourown  shovels. A Delhi based distributor of offbeat films was wondering if he might find some interesting films to buy or distribute. We are sure sir, that you will find something worth your while, so bringyourown chequebook...

In order for us to organize things properly, please send in a mail to us (byoffpuri@rediffmail.com) stating your intention to come and if possible, the arrival date. Even if you are not sure that you will come, but have the inclination, please send us a mail anyway, so that we have an idea of numbers. If you are bringing a film to screen, please let us know its duration and format. This  should ideally reach us by 2nd February, 2004. We can then send you an invitation mail for coming to the festival (since it is a `private festival by invitation only`) Please also indicate the city you will be coming from.

This will also help us reserve accomodation for you, close to the venue, depending on your budget. And if you like, on your arrival, at the Bhubaneshwar airport/ railway station, or at Puri railway station, you could be met by one of our volunteers who can escort you to the venue. If your city is connected only to Bhubaneshwar (60 km from Puri) we suggest you let us know your travel details and we could put you on to others who are coming in from your city. You could even share a cab from Bhubaneshwar (or perhaps Khurda Road station) to Puri. Information on train schedules and accomodation status can be had from www.indianrail.gov.in

When you arrive at the venue, you will be asked to register and buy meal coupons for dinner which will be redeemable at the Pink House restaurant. This will be a very reasonable amount against which you will get a sumptuous dinner at the venue. For screening your films you could book a suitable time slot depending on availability, and show your work. A small contribution will be expected for this. The slots will be booked  on a first come first served basis (so try and land up early, get to know the other participants, and even help us set up! We also plan to pick up the plastic thrown by people on the beach... you could pitch in for this effort). Unlike Andamans where they don`t allow you to carry plastic, Puri does have its share of dirt. But as mentioned, we are luckily located in the cleaner stretch. We do encourage you not to bringyourown plastic.

The screenings will be on vhs, vcd, mini dv and beta, by lcd projectors which will be   inside two large tents. We will line these with black cloth and have some chairs and some mats, or chatais for seating on the floor. A Bangalore based film maker was keen to carry a chatai of his own. Well, no need unless you are too attached to it (like the blanket of Linus?). Well if you really want to, feel free to bringyourown chatai. On two of the days we will also arrange for open air night screenings on 35mm and 16mm. So plan to procure your prints in advance. There are many rooms for additional screenings where small groups can watch films on vhs or vcd, but we have a limited number of players, so if you have something to spare (vcr, or vcd/mini dv players) please do bringyourown equipment.

Some people want to send films for screening and are unable to attend. We have decided to do so, if time permits. Since this is a forum where the emphasis is on artists interacting with each other, preference will be given to those who bring their own films. ( And by your own films we mean films directed or produced by you or films where you have contributed as editor, cameraperson, sound recordist, etc.). Some people are also keen to bring films made by others but would like to screen and discuss them. Again, most welcome.

There will be large display boards where the schedules will be put up. You will also be able to put up the synopsis or posters of your films. So don`t forget to bringyourown publicity material If you have information to share with fellow film makers and artists, these boards could be used.

A lady from Hyderabad was toying with the idea of bringing her child and wanted to know about the safety element of the area. Well, we are informing the local police station about our event, because even though it is a private gathering, we will be up till late at night. They have assured us of  full cooperation. The venue is an enclosed space and the hotels are literally a stone`s throw from there. Kids love sand, so why not  bringyourown children  and better still, get them to bring their own toys and have a large collection! We can make a sand pit where they could  be  kept busy and we can hire a couple of babysitting ayahs. Needless to say, they will still be your responsibility, though!

We are sure that there will also be some impromptu performances, events, and discussions on issues that concern all of us. The festival will take shape right there and then, with your participation and collective effort. And who knows what wonderful things it may lead to... more low budget festivals,  more viewership, more strength... So bringyourown ideas , thoughts and  experiences and lets together create a festival to suit our needs and our vision.

There are many places to visit in and around Puri, so bringyourown  cameras. You can find some information on this and other relevant details on ourwebsite www.byofilmfestival.com This will be operational from end of this month.

If any of you can help with finding sponsors / contacts in the press / related websites which can carry our link, please write in to us.And thanks for all the good wishes and notes of appreciation that many of you have been sending. Special thanks to all of you who have been volunteering to work and have been helping in various ways to keep us going.

The BYOFF Team

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