The birth of Indian cinema can be traced to a short movie, Raja Harishchandra of 40 minutes duration. But in a country like India — where the success of any film is measured by certain yardsticks which obeys the conventional rule of being glamourous, entertaining and three-hour long — an Indian film-buff would perhaps give short films the cold shoulder and give credence to masala films. However, increasing accessibility and affordability of media technology has paved the way to a boom in the production and scope of short films.
Plight of today’s short filmmakers
The media is now effectively employed by highly skilled and talented short film makers from all walks of life to try out, express and learn new ideas, and as a potent tool to conscientize and effectuate social change. This week Team ‘By The Startups’ meet Whatashort, a premiere database & showcasing platform for short films around the globe. Whatashort, a media & entertainment startup, is a part of Ravie Solanky Media & Entertainment (Pvt) Ltd, and offers short filmmakers around the globe the tools to create, share, connect with each other, learn from each other and create a community of independent filmmakers, scriptwriters, actors and other film crew.
“As a short filmmaker myself, I can understand the plight of short filmmakers who do not have the means to promote their films or a proper platform where they can showcase their films. As I went about exploring this predicament, a few filmmakers inspired me to come up with a platform, which they can easily understand and use – Whatashort was born,” says Ravie Solanky, CEO & founder of Whatashort, a multi-disciplinary professional in capacities like short filmmaking, graphic designer, web developer and photographer. Dimpy Dua, a former show producer in 92.7 BIG FM, co-founded Whatashort earlier in 2015.
What is Whatashort?
Based in the capital city of India, Whatashort has built a portal where any filmmaker can make use of all filmmaking-related services under a single platform. They can submit their films for free, share them and viewers can watch, share, rate and review them easily. Ravie says, “Whatashort also shares films that are handpicked by our review team — those among the list of can’t-miss movies. I believe when somebody visits our website, he or she will have complete access to important info related to films, be it movie release date or news related to movies. Not to mention interviews, film festivals, contests and filmmaking workshops organized throughout the year globally.”
Ravi adds, “If you’re are a film junkie, or a die-hard movie buff, simply go to whatashort for you daily dose of entertainment. If you’re a short filmmaker, upload your films for free and be a lifetime member; you needn’t wait for festivals to showcase your films.” Besides organizing festivals online to promote the shorter version films, Whatashort has developed an active database for watching, reviewing, rating and sharing them online with the support of a dedicated review and editorial team.
So how can one get involved with Whatashort?
• By watching, sharing, rating or reviewing their short films
• Advertising or promoting one’s own film or festival
• Recommending any film or festival
• Becoming a volunteer in their events
• Submitting queries on filmmaking
• Contributing content on their website
The huffs and puffs
Any new idea is bound to ruffle some feathers from those that follow the set rules of “the establishment”, and Whatashort is no exception to the rule. ‘With our first online Film Festival, we’ve succeeded in creating a small ripple in the ocean of short filmmaking. We have received more than 300 films from 52 countries in two months since we started in March 2015. We had a lot of film submissions this year, which have already won various accolades. We’ve got 400% hike in visitor influx to the site – an indication that we are fast gaining acceptance among filmmakers, movie buffs and even theatre audiences,” asserts an optimistic Ravie.
The road ahead
The team is hoping to rope in people from the Bollywood fraternity to up the ante. Anurag Arora, a Bollywood actor has recently come on board as a jury member of the platform. With more like-minded professionals joining the bandwagon, Whatashort, which is bootstrapped as of now, is all set to make it big in this niche. That said, the team is also bracing themselves to attract funding in the days to come.
“We’re hoping to see ourselves as the leader in short filmmaking and short films’ database — it’s curation and dissemination,” a gleaming Dimpy, its co-founder joins in. “Our purpose is to aim for the highest and reach out to every aspiring and sprouting filmmakers and help them with turning their ideas into reality with every possible equips that we could provide online and offline,” adds Dimpy, as she defines a clear roadmap for the future. Get in touch with team Whatashort at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.