The 2017 edition of FirstCut was a landmark edition, witnessing an unprecedented 260 submissions from 36 cities around the world. Whittling these huge numbers down was difficult - but we eventually screened 40 of these wonderful films on campus, between the 18th and 19th of February 2017.
Here are some of the most exciting results from last year’s edition!
Overall, MIT Institute of Design emerged as festival winners, winning 5 awards across 3 categories, and securing the prestigious FirstCut rolling trophy. Seventeen30 by Anahita Sachdev of FLAME University won the ‘Best Film (Fiction)’ Award. The ‘Best Film (Non-Fiction)’ Award was bagged by Ankit Pisal of MIT Institute of Design, for Voiceless Melodies. FTII’s Shivangi Mittal won the ‘Best Film (Nano)’ Award for Hairy Tale, while the ‘Best Film (Animation)’ was bagged by NID’s Samasya for Gaurav Wakankar.
Njanasundaran graduated from National Institute of Design in Visual Communication Design and worked as an independent designedeveloping branding for TV channels and multi-national companies. In 2005, he shifted to Animation and Film industry, doing Computer graphics and Visual Effects for film. He has been associated with various animation and visual effects Studios such as Indian Artist Chennai, Maya Entertainment Mumbai, Prime Focus Mumbai, Anibrain Digital Logics Pune and Eyeqube Studios Mumbai, Imaging Lab, Ivana Studioz, at a variety of roles as Creative Lead Research and Development, Creative Director, CG Supervisor and Visual Effects Supervisor.
Sidharth Iyer is a young media professional, who has carved a niche for himself in the field of Media and Entertainment. Currently with Redchillies.VFX, he has worked on numerous digital strategies. He is the Joint Secretary with Media & Entertainment Association of India; Takes a chair on the Advisory Board of India International Animation & Cartoon Film Festival and is also a Life Member of The Animation Society of India. On the personal front, Sidharth is passionate about sports, movies, reading, learning the internet & technology and spending time with his family, friends and colleagues at work.
Swati Agarwal is a filmmaker and animation designer. She is an alumna of IIT, Bombay and specializes in stopmotion, video editing, and character design. She is known for directing the claymation short film, ‘Lakshmi Aayi Hai’. At present, she is a design research associate at the Industrial Design Centre.
Kurush Canteenwala is a documentary filmmaker known for ‘Goa Goa Gone’, a documentary describing the ill effects of rampant iron ore mining in parts of Goa. He also made ‘Konkanchi Mega Vaat’, a film that probes into the public’s opposition to thermal power projects being proposed in the Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts.
Minnie Vaid is a documentary filmmaker and has also been a print journalist, having worked with the Times of India and Illustrated Weekly. She soon moved on to vido journalism and then documentary programmes with Business India Television. She anchored and produced ROOTS, an award-winning programme on rural India, and is known for her films ‘A Doctor to Defend’, ‘Satyendra Dubey: The Story of a Whistle Blower’, ‘We Have a Dream’, and ‘Sacred Forests of Meghalaya: Wisdom from the Mother's Hearth’.
Mayank Shekhar is a film critic, journalist, and writer. He previously worked with Hindustan Times, MiD Day, and Mumbai Mirror. Now, he writes reviews for the W14.com, a website he founded, as well as Dainik Bhaskar. Shekhar is a member of the Central Board of Film Certification and a recipient of the 2004 "Young Achievers Awards" by the Indo-American Film Society for his work as a film critic. He has authored the best-selling book Name Place Animal Thing (2016).
Anil Zankar is an alumnus of FTII, Pune. He has many years of experience when it comes to filmmaking, writing, and teaching. He has received two national awards, one for a film script and the other for a book on cinema. Previously, he was editor of “Lights, Camera, Action”, a magazine published in collaboration with BFI, UK. He has made contributions to Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema (Britannica) and several other academic journals and magazines. Currently, he is a professor of screen studies and research at FTII.
FirstCut 2015 was the first annual intercollegiate film festival by FLAME University. It was held on 13th and 14th March 2015. The festival received over 150 entries from cities including Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Vadodara. The finest 15 fiction shorts, 7 nano films and 6 non-fiction shorts were shortlisted and screened during the event, held in FLAME University’s dazzling campus.