Aiming for Intenational Film Festivals? Kaali tells You How

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Are you the film buff who still rants that Indian short films are mediocre and not upto International standards. Here’s Kaali to disprove your arguments  placing readily itself amongst the international short film fraternity

So I was excited enough to ask the creator Mr Nathaniel, the questions that popped up after watching Kaali.

What was the inspiration for the movie, looks like it had some shades of The Usual Suspects, isnt it?

No it is not inspired from the Usual Suspects and I haven’t watched the film yet. I am actually excited by retro style films, the color tone of it, the costumes used and the props employed, that gives a nice out of the world cinematic feeling. That vintage feel though, it really helps your film stand out of the clutter, though I would say, The immediate inspiration was Narcos and Stranger things series. I decided to go retro through Kaali.

What was the camera and the lens used? Did you use both a Slider and Zhiyun crane?

The camera we used was Sony A7S2, a perfect one to get depth in the subjects, mostly we used a prime lens and for the close-up shots mainly for the conversation scenes we switched to the telescopic lens. For the moving shots we used slider that too just for the indoors and for the outdoors the sequence was completely hand held. I was particular about this free style shooting at outdoors, because it actually gives a very lively feeling. Due credits to our DOP Suriya balaji, who also bagged the best director of Photography award in The Kargil international short film competition.   

Were the costumes in the film stitched or hired as they look both authentic and fitting?

Well myself and the cameraman of the film, we personally invested time to get hold of all the costumes in the film. We handpicked all the cloth materials of different colors that would look authentic and  appealing on the screen and got them tailored. We also collected lots of accessories like the vintage belt, coolers and hat but later thought that establishing them in the film will extend the run time of the film.

How did you manage to convince so many producers for the film?

Being a crowdfunded project, I was lucky enough to have lot of friends who trusted the plot of kaali so they acted as majority producers and with the portfolio of my previous works, I gathered the remaining funds from other producers.

How did you get to screen on so many festivals and can you share your experience on how the festival procedures take place and what they look for in the movies?

Actually Kaali was kicked off with the goal of reaching international film festivals, so I was very keen on making the technical part rock strong. I worked on the pre-production of the film for almost two months and we handled this film equivalent to a feature film, so the output was really set for the international quest and we sent it to almost 29 film festivals mainly with the help of filmfreeway, starting from Behindwoods to Africa International Film Festival, we were the only Indian film in the official selection in many festivals and we even bagged the title in some competitions. The only thing they expect from the films are production quality and what I would suggest to filmmakers who aspire to  send their work to festivals is to cut down their short film to 5-15 mins for having a better chance in getting selected and winning.

The interview with Nathanial was really a useful session, went  almost an hour, as he had so much to share about filmmaking and he was very easy going to answer all my questions with patience, describing the complete back story how he planned and executed Kaali.

Wishing all the best for his future endeavours,


Team Student Filmer

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