In the midst of the coronavirus-induced lockdown, an artist muses over his lack of inspiration. He is a filmmaker who writes film reviews for a living. Whatever little time he can spare for himself, he uses to write poems, short stories, or to sketch and make short videos. Work from home ennui, relationship troubles, and existential dread make him question his craft as the days pass by with seemingly no progress.
Musings of an Uninspired Artist (2020) is a film that realistically documents the feeling of isolation, lack of inspiration and existential dread that was brought in by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns in early 2020.
74 min | English, Hindi | Indie, Drama | 2020 | India
In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema, the Indian Film Institute brings you the experience of the Director of the film - Ronit Jadhav
Why this subject matter for your film?
There were 2 reasons I chose this subject:
1) It was exactly what I was going through.
2) I wasn’t the only one going through it.
I wanted to simulate my experience of isolation, un-inspiration and existential dread in an authentic, realistic manner.
Where did you find the story for this film?
We were about a month and a half into the lockdown. I was stressed out from my job, there was a lot of anxiety around layoffs, recession, and the virus. It had been about a year since I last worked on a personal project, and in the midst of dealing with all that 2020 had thrown my way, I realised I can channel this frustration and anxiety through my art.
While there was no story to tell per se, there certainly was an experience to recreate.
I hope that when people in the future look back to these trying times, my film is among those considered an authentic portrayal of the lockdown experience.
What were the challenges you faced in making the film?
Considering that I made this film with no budget, no cast and no crew, there were a ton of problems that I had to overcome.
For starters, I had a full-time job, meaning I could only shoot post work hours and on
weekends. I had no money for hair and make-up, so I couldn’t shoot over a longer period of time as my hair would grow and it would be noticeable in the film.
A major problem that came up during the shoots was my camera malfunctioning.
Since it was an old camera and I hadn’t serviced it in a long time, it began shutting down randomly in the middle of takes. Because of this, I had to cut down to only 1-2
takes per shot, merging many shots to longer takes, and sometimes not even being able to review the shot before moving on to the next one. By the time I was done with the shoot my camera completely broke down.
I meticulously planned my shoots to cover all that I required over the short period of
3 days in my room. Of course, not everything went as planned, but that’s just the nature of this art form.
Did you face any problems in releasing the film?
My film hasn’t been released yet. So far, it has made it to 9 International Film Festivals, Diorama being the first one to give me a platform. Given that I shot this film on old substandard equipment, my film doesn’t meet the technical requirements for a big release, at least not at first glance. I’m sure that will be one of the bigger hurdles when approaching distributors.
What was your background before making your first film?
I started experimenting with filmmaking all the way back in 2012, when I was still in college. I shot my first short film on my phone (a Samsung Galaxy S3). I went on to make several other short films before enrolling for a Diploma in Digital Filmmaking at FX School. Post that, I made my first feature, a micro-budget indie film called ‘Last Chance: The Moment I Finally Embraced The Futility Of Existence’. That film was released on Amazon Prime (US & UK) in 2019.
How do you think filmmakers like you can overcome common challenges like finance and distribution?
So far, all my projects have been zero-budget/low-budget films. I tend to keep my restrictions and limitations in mind right from the conceptualizing phase. That way, when I have a polished draft of my script in hand, the fact that it’s doable even without a budget keeps me motivated enough to see the project through.
That being said, I have come to understand that challenges like finance and distribution can be overcome if you have a strong producer on board. By producer, I don’t mean the person funding your film, but someone who’ll be overlooking the production of your film, making sure that you achieve the best creative output for your vision.
More importantly, you need to have a clear vision and strategy for your film. The clearer your vision, the easier it is to find people to collaborate with. The more concrete your strategy, the more confidence a producer or distributor will have in you when collaborating with you.
Interesting facts about Musings of an Uninspired Artist
I shot this film using my old Canon 600D, using only a 18-35mm lens. The musings part of the film was shot in a 25 min long single, mostly-improvised take on my laptop – I took some time to gather all my thoughts, hit the record button, and began pouring my heart and my thoughts out. I recorded the audio on my phone, and used screen-recorder apps to capture phone chats, writing poems and short stories, etc. We’re all surrounded by screens in our lives, and I think this mix of screens I used helped me capture a fuller experience.
Festivals and Awards
2nd Diorama International Film Festival & Market – Official Selection
Lift-Off Global Network Sessions Dec 2020 – Official Selection
Lift-Off First Time Filmmaker Sessions Dec 2020 – Official Selection
Golden Jury International Film Festival 2020 – Finalist
International Moving Film Festival 2020 – Official Selection
Berlin Indie Film Festival 2020 – Honorable Mention
Eastern European International Movie Awards Jan 2021 – Bronze Award for Best Indie Feature & Honorable Mention, Best Indie Feature
World London Film Festival Mar 2021 – Bronze Selection | Feature Film Category
Sphere Digital - World Cinema Carnival 2021 – Official Selection
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How to Feature your film
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