A Film School… MAMI 2012

Just when I thought I was taking a break, I am back in the thick of the entrepreneurial space!

…So while it may seem like I’ve been missing in action, i’ve in fact been in the middle of too much action!

..And while I haven’t been really dedicated to the blog, I’ve been writing a lot!

And all this startup talk took me right back to the days when I had one, and when I wrote this:

Mumbai International Film Festival, 2012

Photo Credit: MAMI Website

Photo Credit: MAMI Website

I have to admit I am not a movie buff at all. It’s not like I don’t watch any, or I don’t enjoy them when I do actually watch ‘em, just that I don’t have the attention span to sit through a movie (and not necessarily a long one). Perhaps because something so visual (and considering you are spoon fed every little detail) leaves very little to imagination (unless it’s an abstract, high on concept, stylishly shot film, which would bring me back to the problem of limited attention span!). What I enjoy, is having the ability to visualize things in my mind. So I prefer a book. I know what I ‘see’ while reading a book is entirely my personal experience. Or for that matter any mode of expression which is not simplified and broken down to ensure its easily palatable and universally understood ‘in the same way’.

This brings me to notions, opinions we form in A particular circumstance at A particular period in time, which, over time becomes an unchallenged, accepted habit. My biggest learning curve as an entrepreneur has been to not get limited by pre conceived notions. ‘I don’t like math-I will avoid accounts’, ‘I am a private person-I will not put my life out there’, each of these are comfort zones I have broken out of, as an entrepreneur. Notions have been defeated and rendered meaningless and questioning a belief, revisiting a decision has brought some wonderful changes in my life. :-)

To challenge the pre conceived notions about cinema, I signed up for the Mumbai Film Festival. Sure, I saw what everyone else did, but what I felt, and consequently what I took back was mine. And I learnt a thing or two about choices I have made/am making as an entrepreneur. :-)

Here is an account of my top picks and a little on what I loved about them (restricting this post to ‘entrepreneurial learnings’ only).

1. Beasts of the Southern Wild

In a defiant bayou community, lives six-year-old Hushpuppy, dealing with the devil of having lost a mother long ago and on the brink of loosing her father to a sudden illness. Hushpuppy, not only learns to survive the catastrophe of the storm that hits her town, but she learns to live with her head and her spirits held high, despite all odds.

Things may seem tough, even impossible. But it’s not a war, it’s life. Don’t fight it. Teach yourself everything you need to, prepare well and live it. Fighting could quickly take you on a negative tangent where you are likely to feel ‘defeated’, leaving you with no energy to bounce back. Counter effective. Realizing that it’s life, and that it’s bound to have ups and downs makes sure that you don’t loose the verve and the joy in doing the things you do. (this one I am going to remind myself of!)

Watch trailer here.

2. Rust and Bone

The journey through loneliness, friendship, companionship, peace and love of Ali and Stephanie, both negotiating with life, in their own ways.

Things take its own time, and time takes its own course. But you will find your feet and the ground beneath it. The unlikely friendship of a troubled, attention seeking whale trainer and a lonely, in denial night club bouncer/boxer tells you, you find whatever it is that you deserve whether or not you have absolute clarity on what you want on day one. The trick is to keep going and not give up, despite all odds.

The trailer on YouTube has been marked as adult content, so I am avoiding posting it here.

3. Xingu

The story of the Boas brothers who are credited for forming the Xingu National Park in Brazil. Claudio, Leonardo and Orlando find themselves facing authorities who are trying to take control of a deeply forested land inhabited by diverse indigenous population.

The best of the intentions and the most honest effort may not always translate into the expected result. But there is no definitive win or loss. You win some, you move on – you loose some and you move on. A large part of being an entrepreneur is about not loosing self or the motivation to look ahead in either victory or in loss. The Baos brothers manage to negotiate well for some ethnic groups, and they continue to fight for the last of them. Though they don’t lack honest intention, effort or passion, hundreds and thousands in the last of the indigenous tribes loose their lives in the building of a highway and modern city over the land populated by them.

Watch trailer here.

4. Something’s in the Air

A bunch of high school students in Paris in early 1970s are torn between being part of a leftist movement of the time and their own personal and ‘real’ dreams, which, in case of Gilles is becoming a painter. Eventually he finds himself becoming confident about making his choices and finding comfort in the choices he makes.

There is ‘passion’ and there is ‘profession’. We are all looking at marrying the two. It’s never easy to make a choice between the ‘right thing to do’ and ‘the thing you want to do’. If you are going through a phase of being idealistic and ambitious, remember that there isn’t a right answer. Each one has his own path, you have to live through life and you find the path.

I can’t seem to find a trailer with subtitles on YouTube.

5. Kauwboy

Jojo is learning to live in a difficult world marked by a missing mother and a volatile father. His world turns magical when he finds the company of a baby jackdaw (a fellow ‘abandoned by the family’ soul). His world comes crashing down when he looses Jack in a freak accident, only until he realizes he hasn’t lost it all.

Every ‘fall’ is a lesson learnt, that helps, among other things, to liberate you from the pain of a previous fall. Jojo learns to deal with death and loss of his mother only when he experiences the loss of Jack. Also, when you fall and need someone to help you stand up, reach out. You will be pleasantly surprised to see help coming from unexpected quarters (which in the case of Jojo comes from his father in the form of the renewed relationship). One of the joy of being an entrepreneur in India now (in my experience) are my amazing peers. Always willing to lend you a ear, always willing to brain storm and discuss an issue and come up with a million possibilities of resolving it!

Watch trailer here.

6. The Sapphires

Inspired by a true story, the sapphires chronicles the journey of four aboriginal sisters from Indigenous Australia, each of whom are confronting their own personal battles whilst dreaming of making it big as musicians. They land their first big gig, with the help of Dave, a local musician, and embark on the journey to the war struck Vietnam to sing for the American troops there.

Value and wealth are to be distinguished. Sure, every business is for profit. But being an entrepreneur may not simply be about the money, for you. Know your priorities. Accept it with grace. Don’t fight it. The end credits of the movie says the girls chose to come back to their roots. The experience of being in a war zone had changed them. Creating value in their lives (and that of others) became more important than the fame and the wealth. (This one is invaluable to me at this point, considering the crossroads I am at).

Watch trailer here.

7. Blancanieves

A silent re telling of the classic snow-white tale. Antonia Villalta not only looses his legs to a bull but also his wife who dies in child birth. Their daughter, Carmencita, brought up by her grand mother comes back into her father’s life as a young girl, only to find herself denied everything by her step mother. After the death of her father, she escapes the clutches of her step mother and lands up joining a troupe of dwarf bullfighters which decides the last ‘fight’ she needs to put up in life.

Know what you are good at and do it! A professional qualification helps, but you will do your best at something you are naturally inclined to. This one was sort of reinforcement to me, being a corporate lawyer turned designer/entrepreneur myself. Carmentica has practically no education, formal or informal, except the dancing she learns from her grandma (which brings her close to her father) who teaches her the basics of bull fighting. Years later, she shines at the later. Don’t let a choice you made in your late teens (of a certain education) limit you from doing something else for the rest of your life!

Watch teaser here.

What more can I say, except, more power to art!


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