CAIRO - 15 February 2020: Short films play a vital role in the international cinema industry because it continuously pump new blood in the cinema veins, making it more creative and vivid.
Egypt Today Magazine chatted with the founder of French Riviera Film Festival Gotham Chandna about his prominent festival which is dedicated to short film content and why he chose to host it every year in Cannes. Chandna plays a key role in Cannes International Film Festival as his goal as well as the festival one to provide a platform to showcase short film content to the audiences in Cannes.
- 1-What is the main mission of French Riviera Film Festival?
The mission behind French Riviera Film Festival (FRFF) is to provide a platform to the filmmakers to showcase short form content to a worldwide audience under one roof! Cannes is one of the largest events attended by the filmmaking community from all over the world. It is literally the melting pot for creativity and that backdrop provides the best setting for our film festival.
2- Why is the film festival dedicated to short films? To what extent you see short form content play vital role in the cinematic scene in general?
Short form content is gaining popularity very rapidly. Audiences today like instant gratification, sooner than ever. The advent of platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram stories have brought the attention span of people to a bare minimum. We decided to go the short film route to cater to the changing times.
Yes, short form content plays a very vital role in the big scheme of things. It is an arena where budding or experienced filmmakers can practice their craft of story-telling on a small budget and in a very limited time. Unlike feature length films, the filmmakers working with short films have a very little time to get the message across. Many times, this also sets the stage for future feature length projects.
3- Explain to us more about the festival sections?
The filmmakers have a wide variety of film genres that they can pick from in the festival. These include Drama, Comedy, Documentary, Animation, Sci-Fi/Horror, Experimental, and Lifestyle, Fashion, Music Video were added to give it the “French Riviera” flair.
4- Why did you choose to make this festival in French Riviera despite being an Indian American? Why not in India or US? And why its date is very near Cannes Film Festival?
Our festival takes place during Cannes FF and this is intentional. We are delighted to provide young filmmakers from around the world another avenue to promote their work. Many will be attending the Short Film Corner at Cannes, and some are even official selections. We definitely have a captive, built in audience by scheduling FRFF during Cannes.
5- Tell us more about the festival achievements in the first edition?
The inaugural edition of FRFF was very successful! Not only did we receive hundreds of submissions from all over the world, our festival advisory board and jury were very helpful in helping us bringing the festival together.
The festival opened with an “out of competition” screening of the Oscar (2019) winning short film, Skin. We had intense competition in the Drama category, and the winner, “Tattoo” is a Berlinale Crystal Bear alumni. The best actress also went to “Behdokht Valian” (Tattoo).
Bruno Chatelin of Filmfestivals.com has provided us major support in the first year and he continues to do so in a very strategic manner. All in all, we’re one small happy family!
6- With your passion for independent cinema, what are your future plans for the festival?
I love independent films (more than mainstream cinema) and I’d only like to see more and more filmmakers learn about our film festival and showcase their talent. A little secret, I watch all shorts that are submitted to the festival!
7- Do you follow Egyptian or Arab cinema? If yes how do you evaluate it?
I’m not avidly following Egyptian or Arabic films but I do watch them on a regular basis. As artists (the filmmakers) they have a unique way of painting (storytelling) and nurturing has a lot to do with that. Different backgrounds offer a different way of telling stories.
I equally enjoy the drama tear jerkers and the comedies that I have come across. I would really love to see more Arabic content being submitted to the festival (hint hint!)
8- This was your first time to the Cairo Film Festival, what are your thoughts?
It was my first time in Cairo and it will always have a special place in my heart. I was truly amazed to see the lavish red carpets (yes plural), A+ production by the festival team and the impeccable hospitality and service offered to me everywhere in Egypt. The festival left no stone unturned. I look forward to being there in the years to come.
9- What is your favorite cinema festival and why?
I basically love all film festivals. The synergies that evolve at the film festivals have something special. I might just have my heart set on Cannes if I dug deeper.
10- Who are the festival sponsors?
We plan to announce our sponsors and latest partners in the New Year.
11- What are you plans for the second year of FRFF and any other plans in the works?
Nicole Muj and I co-produce the festival and we are thrilled about our second year. We have worked together for about six years at Cannes Film Festival on various projects and on many other events, including Miss India America in LA, as well as events during Sundance, American Film Market, and others. We have amazing partners and judges already in place, and an online shop at Yuzzl.com I hope you can join us at the second annual FRFF. We also recently announced the Reel Rosé film festival that will launch during LA Fashion Week in September 2020.