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36hr Short Film shot in India


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#1 Scott Lynch

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 09:25 AM

I just wanted to get some feedback on a short documentary that I made this summer. The whole film was created in 36hrs from concept to finished product for a student film competition called the Imagine Cup. Any comments would be greatly appreciated :).

It's the first film listed on the page "The Road To Agra"

http://www.cardboard...com/shorts.html



Thanks!

-Scott
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#2 Scott Bullock

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 08:41 PM

That's a really well made film considering your time constraints. I thought the editing worked well with the music, which I assume, is original. The photo montage at the end was nicely done, and most of the footage was colorful, vibrant, and well photographed, especially the stuff along the road. However, I felt that some of the interview footage looked like, well, badly shot video interview footage. The interior stuff with the guy from Microsoft looked pretty bad, in my opinion. It needed some bounce lighting to avoid the "raccoon eyes" and the white balance seemed all wrong. Same with the guy in the airport. I can see how lighting might have been a constraint given the circumstances, though. All in all, I enjoyed it and feel it's a good piece of work.
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#3 Joey Dee

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 11:53 PM

However, I felt that some of the interview footage looked like, well, badly shot video interview footage. The interior stuff with the guy from Microsoft looked pretty bad, in my opinion. It needed some bounce lighting to avoid the "raccoon eyes" and the white balance seemed all wrong. Same with the guy in the airport. I can see how lighting might have been a constraint given the circumstances, though. All in all, I enjoyed it and feel it's a good piece of work.

Fellas,

I don't see how that matters - as the filmakaer is trying to see India through their eyes and this documentary is nothing close to a "performative documentary" live A&E where the image needs to be glamourized with dramatic tone & music to sychronize with the narrative, that form of construction is irrelevant to the social surroundings of this doc.

I really liked it very much - I liked to see the rawness of different cultures it's more appealing to me than glamourized images of the world as it keeps me in touch with reality - however there is a major seperation between the "Bourgeoisie" and the street people. For example the image presents us 2 types of people - the Indians in the streets & the foreigners living comfortably yet criticizing the culture, technology and so on which makes me think ok what is the point of all of this that is presented to us? What is the point of going to a different country and film people in the streets while the people being interviewed are foreigners?

One of the person being interviewed says "Im just trying to look to the India through their eyes and not from the point of view from the United States..." but thats' false mate cause in order to justify that point the documentary needs to allow the subjects to express their concerns and needs... Not offer to represent a whole nation from a foreigners point of view, now I could understand that it would be hard to find a person who speaks english or the same language but there are alternative such as hire a translator in order to have to communicate in order to properly see India through their eyes :) moreover we now that India is a poor country (please forgive me for this poor generalization - but in comparison to the U.S & Canada) - why not target the root of these social issues and so forth.

Overall I liked it - as I like raw representations of cultures and in terms of techniques you're good - you're not doing a performative documentary such as "A&E" where they need to re-construct the events through factial events and so forth, you're style is aligned more with Neo-Realism, the use of real people in real life events, therefore lighting and all that jazz is irreleavant to the message & theme you are setting in your doc.

Well done,
my best,
Joey Dee
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#4 Rajavel Olhiveeran

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 01:56 AM

ok guys. a different point of view ....point of view from an Indian film-maker.
as an Indian......and after living there right from childhood to 30 ....am still enthralled by the multi cultural ..and the multi everything of what India is. it looks great from every point of view.
now coming to the film 'the road to agra'. was indeed a good effort....but it was like a free flowing footage of everything that came ur way...ofcourse everything that came ur way was interesting.....
but interviews were out of sync with the shots......they were talking of the software design in india...why that ....when it is 'road to agra'....and the irony of the locations of the interviews......5 star hotels....and talking about the people on the road. it would have been great.....if they had spoken ..when in the midle of those cute kids on the road.....riding a cycle....or ...travelling in autorickshaw....etc...
but to see shots ....kids trying to reach out for u...waving to u while u were inside a a/c car......and hence ur car windows closed.....was creating a different mood altogether.

those few seconds of the boy in pink shirt ...running to the car...and the way he reactts to u all ....itself was a film by itself. that few seconds is the crux of ur entire film i feel.....that would do.....that is the moment....precious moment captured.

who did the music....or where is it from.....great. very off beat!
cheers!
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#5 Scott Lynch

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 11:55 AM

Scott, Joey and Rajavel:
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my film :).

I thought I would explain some more of the context that the film was made in. The Imagine Cup is a Microsoft sponsored student technology competition that has contests that mainly deal with developing new technology. They hold the competition in a different country every year and this year was held in Agra, India.

My team placed in the top six finalists in the short film invitational, so the three of us were flown to India for the finals. We arrived in New Delhi at night and then were driven by bus on a 6 hour drive to Agra. The next day each of the six teams was given an XL1 and a computer and asked to create a documentary on "The Imagine Cup experience" that had to be finished in 36 hours.

So we decided to explore the culture shock that most of the competitors were feeling upon arriving. For most everyone, we had never been exposed to seeing first hand how people live in a "third-world" country, and most of us felt very disturbed and confused. I had seen other documentary's of India and of other poor places around the world, but until you see it and smell it and begin to live in it, you can't really know what it's like. So, one of the points we wanted to make was that, here we are in India, living in this palace of a hotel, literally walled off and "protected", and given the romanticized/ tourist version of India. And, for us, this "Imagine Cup experience" just felt fake in some ways, here we are trying to "better the world through technology" but most of us can't even comprehend how a majority of the people actually live. And if we stay in our protected world, in our walled-off hotel, in our cars, and never go out into the country and meet the people the streets and where they live, then how can we possibly try to help them?

The music was recorded there in India. I don't know the names of the artists but it's two drummers who are fairly well known in India. Microsoft had hired them to play at the opening ceremony so I had recorded it for use in the film.

-Scott
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