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Film festivals are rather passe. With red-carpet appearances and glitzy stars taking centre stage, cinema often takes a backseat. It was this that troubled friends and film fanatics Ankita Bhargava and Naman Govil, who are regulars at the fest circuit.

That is where a concept like Future Shorts Festival came in. The brainchild of UK-based Fabien Rigall, an innovator from the Honda Dream Factory, the festival is a multi-country affair that lets movie buffs host screenings of some of the best short films in the world at their favourite pub or home. It's a far more intimate experience than your neighbourhood multiplex and gives short films a platform they lacked.

The world's biggest pop-up film festival seeks to bring audiences and filmmakers together in more than 30 countries and 60 cities with over 140 screenings, showcasing a single programme of the best short films often alongside live music or DJs. "A lot of young people are very aware of global cinema and that's our target audience, " says 24-year-old Bhargava who is organising a screening in Delhi on December 18. Sunday's screening will be held simultaneously with cities in Russia, Italy and the UK.

The process of signing up to host a screening is pretty simple. One has to write in to buy a license - fees for which depends on the size of the screening and country - along with a sensible business plan and a DVD of the movies is sent in the post.

The best part is the organiser of the screening event can charge for tickets and keep the profits. "It's a fairly easy process, all one needs is a workable business plan. In Delhi, we've arranged a screening for 100 people and we get to keep whatever profits we make, " explains Govil, who first learnt about the organisation when he joined Future Shorts Australia in Sydney as a volunteer. The largest short film network in the world, Future Shorts has since 2003 encouraged film makers around the world to find a global audience.

This year's festival that started on November 1 and continues till January 31 next year, features five international films including the Oscar-winning 19-minute long inventive comedy God of Love and Sundance short film winner Deeper Than Yesterday. More than the audience watching critically acclaimed and award winning short films - anybody with a decent net connection now has world cinema at a mouse click - this festival is important for short filmmakers.

"I know a lot of independent filmmakers who don't know how to go about showcasing their films and we thought that something like the Future Shorts Festival would be perfect, " says Govil. Some local selections are even selected by the international office for global screenings. Govil and Bhargava put word out to source two films that would make up the local quota and selected Akash Bhatia's She Does Not Know Me - "a film about a man's obsession with a world he has created around a girl" - and Udayan Chakravarty's Lost - A Prologue, that declares: "To get anything, you must lose everything. "


Future Shorts Festival is being screened at The Stage, Manajsa (Hauz Khas) on Dec 18, 7 pm onwards. Entry is Rs 300 onwards

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