Vernacular Voices

Logging onto eBioscope, an online short film fest showcasing the Bengali idiom

Vernacular Voices
They call it a global platform for showcasing, and promoting, young Bengali talent behind the lens. Kolkata-based Priya Entertainments and Miami-based Databazaar Group have just kicked off the first international online Bengali short film festival, aptly called “eBioscope”.

The two-month festival, that started on August 1, consists only of films that have Bengali as the principal language. Said Arijit Dutta, managing director, Priya Entertainments and chief mentor, eBioscope: “Our endeavour is to target and connect the over 5.5 million Bengali-speaking diaspora worldwide through a unique digital medium.”

While the jury comprises national and international award winning filmmaker Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, US-based filmmaker Suman Ghosh, and Q, the subversive filmmaker who has used non-traditional approaches to film-making and yet continues to be popular among his audience, other mentors include Oney Seal, founder-CEO of Databazaar Group, which pioneered global IPTV/streaming video distribution of Bengali content to a worldwide audience and Sanjeev Chatterjee, a documentary filmmaker and faculty in the Salzburg Academy on Media at the University of Miami School of Communication.

The festival will have an international competitive section of short films (maximum 39 minutes in length) and a non-competitive section of informative films, retrospectives, homage profiles and other documentaries (maximum length of 49 minutes). Films in the competition section will be exhibited on the festival’s official website for 60 days where they will be available for viewing globally on any device, anywhere, any time. Viewers worldwide will vote to select the top 20 movies within that period. The top 20 will then be presented to the jury for award selection. Later, all the awarded films will be screened in Kolkata at Priya and Bioscope theatres.

Viewers will also be presented with a ‘Tip Jar’ at the end of their viewing where they will need to tip the director, based on how much they liked the movie. Films will be ranked and awarded based on the amount of tips each has collected. Clearly, a unique way to vote for and support the project.

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