Amrita Prasad
Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Lost The Plot is organising The Film Caravan Festival, one-of-a-kind cultural event where films, music, poetry, storytelling and other types of performing arts will be celebrated. We chat up Nikita Naiknavare, founder, Lost The Plot, to know more about it

Film Caravan Festival, organised by Lost The Plot, will kick off on January 19 at The Poona Club, Camp. Held at an open-air garden venue, the two-day festival aims to initiate meaningful community interaction and engagement with the arts by bringing together creators and curators from multiple art forms and audiences on one platform.

Nikita Naiknavare, founder, Lost The Plot, believes that filmmaking, at its very core, is a collaborative art form, hence the festival will have a diverse range of activities like open-air film screenings, interactions with filmmakers, live music, theatre, poetry, workshops, panel discussions, food, drinks and pop-up stalls. 

Some of the highlights of the festival  include an exclusive preview screening of the upcoming Marathi film Dhappa, a special focus on Stop Motion Animation through the ages, performance of The Balancing Act by IAPAR, a Mead Slam hosted by Bullock Cart Poetry and sponsored by Asia’s first ‘meadery’ — Moonshine Meadery, workshops on the theme of storytelling, and food and beverage stalls by handpicked local entrepreneurs.

Naiknavare shares more:
- Tell us a little about Film Caravan Festival. What is the idea behind organising it?
Well, we wanted our signature cinema experience — outdoors, with a chilled out vibe, ideally with food and drinks and a selection of intelligent but entertaining films, and to reach more people. Traditionally, a caravan is associated with a travelling tribe of people, bringing their specific nomadic culture to different places, so a Film Caravan seemed like an apt name for the festival. So yes, we envision this as a travelling festival which moves to different, interesting locations every year. Currently, we’re looking at it as a bi-annual festival. 

The second motivation behind it was to create a festival that captures the inherently ‘collaborative’ nature of filmmaking by incorporating other art forms. You need people with a variety of artistic skills like writers, actors, musicians, painters, cinematographers and so on to make a film. Similarly, we wanted to create an inclusive festival where people with these various skills and curators in these spaces could meet, and a bigger pool of audience could be engaged to appreciate independent, original content. 

- On what basis have the films been chosen for screening at the festival?
We would like our audiences to come and discover something new at the festival, so we kept the focus on uncovering hidden gems. The festival theme is storytelling and I find animation a really amazing storytelling format, especially stop motion animation purely for the sheer passion, time and detailed dedication it requires. As Walt Disney said, “Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive.” So our focus on Day 2 is animation, particularly stop motion films (an animated filmmaking technique in which objects are physically manipulated in small increments between individually photographed frames so that they will appear to exhibit independent motion when the series of frames is played back as a fast sequence). 

Day 1 is about celebrating independent cinema. I have been curious and excited about watching the film Dhappa because it won a National Award for Best Film on national integration, which, in today’s time, I think is an essential responsibility of art — to help us understand our own national identity better. So I’m extremely grateful to the filmmakers (who themselves come from such a rich lineage of cinema and theatre) for giving us this opportunity to screen the film. 

- The festival will also have workshops on storytelling. Do you think such workshops will help promote the art which seems to be disappearing?
I think storytelling is in an extremely interesting phase right now. Apart from films, there is a great demand for good stories, even brands now are only interested in telling a good story, and telling it well. Plus with the kind of easy access you get to design/ filmmaking and storytelling tools nowadays, everyone can become a storyteller. But there are some basics that one must know and which also vary from format to format. 

So our workshops are a good introductory session for anybody who wants to try and understand basic storytelling techniques/ formats —  whether as poetry, illustrations, using sound or through the acutely succinct Haiku. 

- Lost the Plot is an open space screening venue. What are some of the pros and cons of screening films outdoors?
Well, the pros are that you are in the outdoors! And with Pune weather, especially in the winter that’s an amazing experience in itself. It’s a very nostalgic, romantic sort of experience. Watching films is already such an escapist activity, I think being outdoors makes it that much more dreamy. The environment also becomes a lot more relaxed and chilled out I feel, so people tend to be a bit more at ease, and happy to interact with each other, away from the usual rush to leave the theatres. Point is to un-box our lives! 

Coming to the cons, well from a technical point of view, it’s a little bit harder to set up. You need more powerful projectors which can get expensive, and it’s difficult to do 5.1 surround sound outside. Also, you can only screen once its dark, so it becomes a night-time activity only which can sometimes exclude kids. 

But as we grow as a festival, I’m hoping we shall be able to target venues which also have a suitable indoor space, so we can grow our film screening programme and events can happen simultaneously. 

The Film Caravan Festival will take place at The Poona Club, Camp, on January 19 and 20, from 1.30 onwards on both days. Passes available on www.bookmyshow.com

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