Asmita Bhaduri is a young short film producer who just sold a huge number of tickets for her short film ‘The Round Trip’ when she released it online. Something she thought would never be possible! Here’s her story.
For Asmita Bhaduri, a young Bengali entrepreneur, producing a short was not a weighed option when she started a few years back. Having seen the world of glitz and glamour up close as a television actor briefly, it was more of a decision that was taken on impulse without weighing the pros and cons some years back. This is the case for not just Asmita, but the majority of short film producers of our country who take their first step out of a burning desire to make a film, rather than the conclusive planning of actually selling it.
For short films, expecting commercial returns and viability was something that was unheard of till a few years back. With the advent of OTT platforms and streaming sites, people did get an option, but it meant selling all your rights to the streaming provider at a cost the provider decided. With fewer options and almost no competitions in the bid, often short films would be sold off with their complete rights for low and paltry amounts that would not even cover the cost of production occasionally. It was more of a ‘Whatever we can get’ attitude the Filmmakers and creators followed, knowing perfectly well that the streaming services and platforms will be making ten times the money from their film than what was offered to them. But they did not have any choice. Until, the whole process of online release came to town. Where you could retain all your rights and sell tickets and release your movie online in a Virtual Multiplex.
“As a Producer, I was scared at first thinking would I be able to make this film. This was my first project and I was nervous. But the amount of love the audience has shown is overwhelming. We saw a similar show of support during the Film Festivals. Getting that same love during the release has been touching, moving and encouraging. The fact that people are literally buying tickets to watch our film is something new for us to take in too” -Asmita
Asmita’s film released online for the world wide audience on the 8th of June 2020. Since then the film has sold enough tickets to secure a second week run in the virtual multiplex. For an eighteen minute short film, the tickets have been priced at Rupees Thirty, a not so steep amount. It is practically impossible to find a ticket worth so less in the real world. Without any big casts or huge promotional budget, this film has done wonderfully on the box office only because of the grit and emotions of it’s makers. Their constant push to make the release a success paid off eventually.
Priyam Chanda is the director of this short. An engineer by profession, Priyam was overwhelmed by the whole release that his film got and the response in number of tickets sold.
“The Round Trip is not only a film but an emotion. And seeing your creation getting a release amongst other films, just like it would have been if there was a Multiplex for short films, is great! But that's just the tip of the iceberg. I have received numerous congratulatory messages, calls as well as people sharing their reviews. This is what we always look for, when we start with our film. And here we are, entering into the second week! And this feeling is beyond what can be written here.” -Priyam
For Asmita, there was one more point that she had harped on when the online release came along. The virtual multiplex was a leveller of sorts for a lot of people. An equation that level led the playing field for everyone. It is possible now to release a short film with the same vigour and zeal of a feature film. The Covid 19 pandemic has rendered theatres and cinema halls shut, forcing viewers to turn to alternative options. While most turn to subscription platforms, where the films value is worth more on it’s star cast and promotional budget, and also not open to all, the Virtual Multiplex with online tickets and release is a much better way to generate revenue from your short film for everyone.
“ Getting a platform where you can release a short film like any other feature film is tremendous. The fact that short films can also have a viable release like any feature film in the market, online not only gives me hope but courage too. When I saw the first lot of tickets sold for my film and actual money started coming in, I was overwhelmed. Here was a solution. This gives me courage to try on newer stories and experiments and produce more films. Because now I know where and how to sell it to the world!” -Asmita
The Round Trip has completed a successful first week run and has now gone on to the second week at IMDC Silverscreen, The Virtual Multiplex. With online releases now possible and proving to be a litmus tests for short form contents, producers and creators don’t only have to rely on shady streaming deals that drain them off their rights and resources, turn to YouTube where basically they give away their films for free while revenue never comes. They now have a whole new world of viewers, ready to watch their content they way it should be watched. The Round Trip’s success during opening week of the virtual multiplex gives hope to more such creators and producers that the short film scenario is not dead. In fact it has Just woken up!