Lubdhak Chatterjee

Lubdhak is an emerging filmmaker from India. The Mobility First! Special Open Call with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs supported his travel from Delhi, India to Rotterdam, Netherlands where he premiered his short film AAHUTI at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) 2020.

As a young filmmaker from India, traveling to the Netherlands to premier my short film AAHUTI at the prestigious International Film Festival Rotterdam 2020 has been a huge learning experience for me and opened doors for international collaborations for my next project. After the festival, 2 people have gotten attached to the upcoming project now as producers.

Being present at the festival gave huge scope for expressing and interacting with the top thinking and artistic minds. Specially I am grateful to be given an opportunity where, as a young filmmaker I could also go and easily interact with the top professionals in Europe and talk about my work and country.

What are some of the most interesting lessons you have learned during your visit?

Among several positive factors which I have learnt during this trip, the most important one surely is how to pitch one’s project. The absence of such opportunities especially during pre-production of a film project in India makes it difficult for independent filmmakers, especially young and emerging talent, to plan. Attending and participating at the sessions at IFFR 2020, not only sharpened my pitching skills, but also helped immensely in gaining confidence.

Further, I was not very much acquainted with the development of art especially the art history of Netherlands and Germany, which my long visits to the museums particularly helped me.

Attending a big festival where people come from different parts of the globe also gave an opportunity to interact with different people and get familiar with their country and peep into their philosophies.

Finally, this was my first trip to Europe and I had to personally go through the visa applications, which will also help me gain experience in the whole application and administrative process.

Lubdhak (far right) at the IFFR 2020 (Photo by Lubdhak Chatterjee)
AAHUTI at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2020 (source: www.iffr.com)

What professional & personal objectives did you achieve in this activity?

Personally, being present at the festival was indeed refreshing and participation goes much beyond making a film. I could also interact with several people from different cultures, watch different films projecting narratives from remote corners – all of which help me to personally evolve into a responsible human being, eager to acknowledge and address issues.

My short film AAHUTI which was screened at International Film Festival 2020, dealt with the fundamental philosophical approach on existence according to ancient Indian speculative thought and belief. The film had expanded the primary concept with a form which used mudras – symbolic gestures in Indian classical art forms as well as rituals (sacrificial rites). The language of the film was completely Indian which in general is unknown to the western audience. I am glad to bring forward one of the most profound philosophies of ancient India as well as a highly developed yet indigenous language of expression to a western audience, which indeed celebrates the essence of cultural exchange.

India is a land with rich cultural legacy across the whole spectrum of various artistic manifestations which are interlinked through the ancient philosophies of the land. However, in India, unfortunately the scope for artistic creation is still limited, mainly due to lack of resources. In comparison, many European cities have developed extensive avenues for cultural exchange, including use of technology to increase outreach. Visiting these spaces does indeed change perception and can also usher change in my home ecosystem if the learnings of the trip are inducted into my cultural landscape.

The trip has given me immense encouragement for my future endeavors, which I would have missed had I not personally attend the festival.

Professionally, I have started working on my upcoming first feature film. I could attend different pitch workshops, meet mentors from whom I received valuable feedback on the project development and also had important meetings with potential producers.

The most important output from my participation at IFFR 2020 is that I got producers for my upcoming feature film. I met several producers and pitch my project. Two of them are already on board and we are exploring more options for international co-production.

The Mobility First! Special Open Call with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still on-going!