OCT 24, 2011
His film, Khamsum, was among seven Bhutanese films in competition
Short Films Award Despite the cold, people thronged the clock tower square in hundreds yesterday evening to watch the first short film festival and award winning films and documentaries.
It was not long before Bhutanese, in the habit of watching only conventional commercial movies left just as they came, in groups, leaving only a handful of audience behind.
Around thirty local and international short films were screened since Friday, out of which, seven Bhutanese films were in competition.
The festival also screened foreign films like A Day in a Life, A Chinese short film and others like Sawan Ki Ghata and Char Dukan, Indian.
Filmmaker Loday Chopel bagged the first prize of Nu 30,000 for his film Khamsum.
Loday Chopel wrote in his profile that the purpose of films is to educate and help people understand about the complexities of life.
Khamsum is about a man who finds himself living in a forgotten past until he finds a young child following him around, calling him ‘father’ and asking him to be picked up from school.
The child persists and the man eventually gives in to the boy’s persistent ways.
Soon the man is drawn into the child’s world and memories and the connection between the man and the child is revealed, uncovering a past the man once forgot.
It turns out the man is indeed the boy’s father born of his girlfriend who he once impregnated and left him when he asked her to abort the child.
His girlfriend, by the time he learns, has died.
One of the jury members Barbara Adler, an international cinematographer and freelance film worker said the movie had a compelling narrative of the connection between the father and the son, of life and death, which is visualised in an imaginative way.
The second prize of Nu 20,000 was awarded to Little Rockstar by Solly Dorji and the third prize of Nu 10,000 went to Tandi Norvu for his short film Before Happiness.
The Little Rockstar exposes the concept of passion versus necessity.
A small schoolboy is torn between his desire and aspiration for rock music while he has only two days left for his examinations.
It also, in a way, conveys about unemployment issues.
Director Solly Dorji said that despite other passion, education should receive top priority.
Expressing the importance of education, a particular dialogue between the boy’s brother and a friend exposes the difficulties of finding jobs and the difficulties unemployed youth migrating to Thimphu in search of one, face.
The movie’s sweet rock musical background enraptured the audience as they tapped their feet to its rhythm.
Talking about short films in Bhutan, Solly Dorji said the concept of short films was relatively new and most Bhutanese were more acquainted with Bollywood films and other commercial movies.
“Beskop tshechu provided us the opportunity to introduce to people the different genres of films and movies,” he said. “That the purpose of movies is not only to entertain but to educate.”
Film Before happiness that Tandi Norvu directed is deprived of dialogues and a single character throughout the story comes across tiny one worded notes strewn all across his room.
The words are anger, compassion, love, hatred, ignorance and forgiveness among others.
Barbara Adler said the film revealed a lot of cultural and religious values within a short time.
The film runs for a crisp eight minutes and 33 seconds.
Barbara Adler said the technical details in the film were not important but the quality of the narrative.
“There’s a clear indication to try and tell stories in a Bhutanese way and not imitate other movies,” she said.
By Nidup Gyeltshen