Shailik Bhaumik is an award-winning filmmaker and entrepreneur. Known for his feature film “Dasein”, Shailik is the founder and Chairman of Human Lab Corporation, a Multinational Film Company whose mission it is to help Independent Filmmakers survive and thrive in this highly competitive industry. Shailik oversees worldwide operations including production, distribution, and marketing for HLC’s live-action films, as well as films released under the HLC banner. In an exclusive interview with Abhijit Ganguly ,Shailik speaks about the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival.
Q: What motivates you and your team to do this festival?
A: Yes, there is definitely a source of motivation behind launching Calcutta International Cult Film Festival. Actually after completing the post production of my debut feature ‘Dasein’ (June, 2015) I started searching for different festivals to submit my film to. What I discovered was that the concept behind many of these festivals has changed a great deal over the past 8 – 10 years since the advent of the digital era.
The fact is that in the digital era the cost of making film has been reduced drastically and as a result, the number of film productions have increased significantly. Earlier, there were only few prestigious international film festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Toronto, etc. and qualifying for those festivals is very tough. With easier access to digital technology, many entrepreneurs who had little or no knowledge of world cinema got into the festival business purely for profit. These festivals have neither the proper infrastructure nor qualified people. As a result they cannot provide anything apart from a laurel (Leaf). Filmmakers having multiple laurels on their posters finally realize that these festivals can’t provide anything but mental satisfaction. All films are made for business as it requires huge investment. So when a filmmaker realizes that he can’t earn any revenue from his film, he becomes frustrated. There are very few festivals in the world that can provide a filmmaker a complete package. And that is:
- Recognition 2. Publicity and finally, 3. Distribution
And so, an innovative group of filmmakers, producers, distributors and artists from all over the world, have joined to become Human Lab Corporation. HLC is a multinational film company that is developing an innovative, multi-faceted platform to bring complete solutions and provide more access to the independent filmmaker.
Recognition: Calcutta International Cult Film Festival is a division of HLC, which has been introduced to discover talent from all over the world. Through CICFF, we want to help indie filmmakers find success by celebrating their achievements through international recognition and awards.
Publicity: Through our new media platform Cult Critic Film Magazine , we are now able to give publicity to emerging filmmakers as well as seasoned professionals. Through our unique artist on artist approach, we provide constructive film reviews and interviews with important and emerging filmmakers.
Distribution: And soon, a very exciting addition to the package will be launched…our own digital streaming platform called The Acid Factory, through which we will be able to distribute independent films globally. CICFF is also going to organize an International Film Market: Piazze Di Cinema during it’s annual event. Through Piazze Di Cinema we are going to develop a platform on which the film fraternity can access the worldwide dialogue on research, production, co-production and distribution. In achieving this we hope to render the world film industry with a new distinctive identity and bring the producers, exhibitors and the skilled and creative personalities together right under one virtual roof.
Ours is not just another international film festival. It’s a complete support system for independent filmmakers. Through this we are building a trusted community of filmmakers interested in making a difference. This is the motivation behind launching Calcutta International Cult Film Festival.
Q: What is the role of film festivals?
A: The role of film festivals is to discover and develop independent artists and audiences. To introduce the work of risk-taking storytellers and filmmakers. To help indie filmmakers find success by celebrating their achievements with a plethora of different awards. To support and nurture emerging independent filmmakers and their stories from around the world. To honour filmmakers who put their heart and soul into the creation of art, regardless of sexuality, ethnicity, religion or political views. To introduce the work of risk-taking filmmakers to the audience. And finally the role of an International Film Festival is to develop a culture that inspires and brings together cross-cultural innovations that enrich people’s lives with entertainment and services that inform educate and entertain.
Q: In one sentence, what makes a great film?
A: A film that touches the soul of its audience and creates a long impact on them is a great film.
Q: Is digital technology and opportunity or a threat?
A: As I mentioned earlier, digital technology has reduced the cost of filmmaking drastically making it possible for many artists to give shape to their dreams. Apart from this, digital technology has made the post production process much easier and more accurate.
Q: How do you see the independent film making scenario in India?
A: India is always a gold mine for producing great artists. Indie films will rule the industry if indie filmmakers cooperate with each other by keeping aside their egos.