How I made it: Uribo (2020)
Updated: Jul 31
Set in the countryside of north-east India, the film explores how the struggles of these women are shared and their stories intertwined. Pokchi has lost her father to alcohol poisoning, and the dire circumstances leads Pokchi and her mother Dheblu to leave their village for the mountains of Uribo. Meanwhile, 9-year-old earthquake survivor Putum and her sister are on a quest to find her parents who might have escaped the catastrophe.
65mins | English,Hindi,Nepali,Nagamese| Drama | 2018 | India | U/A & PG-13
In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema,Indian Film Institute brings you the experience of Director and Producer of the film - Junaid Khalifa
Why did this subject matter to your film?
We, in reality, are always looking for a way to escape into a world full of fantasy and adventure. The world where something is happening every other second. A quick world of emotions and tragedy.
We always have this urge to taste a slice of someone else’s life. That’s why we love stories. We love movies. Sadly, there can’t be enough movies to cover all parts of our culture and live, relationships and it’s struggles.
I just wanted to explore and dive into a part of the life and daily struggles of single parents. The working mothers, the kids growing with single parents or no parents, a mother, a sister, a daughter oriented perception of life. Which is not much in demand of a subject at the moment for the masses.
So filmmakers, when turning towards a more demanded storyline, I felt this as my responsibility to showcase a story from far north-east of a mother and a daughter’s survival after the demise of the man of the family. Within the story of two sisters searching for their parents at Indo-Nepal borders.
Fact Check: All the actors in the film are locals and have no experience of acting except one actress.
Where did you find this story for this film?
I never chased after this storyline, it chose to come to me after when I reached Siliguri. I met with different people in the town.
The working mothers of the local tea estates, in order to gather the content info from a documentary film which was earlier decided to be made instead of this film.
What were the challenges you faced in the making this film?
I made this film without any crew involved during the shooting. Which basically means I produced, I wrote, I directed, I shot it (the cinematography is a big word so I would like to avoid using it for this one) I was the sound guy, the costume dada, the casting director and whatnot.
You name a crew work and I did that. Except acting. And even in acting, all of my cast were non-actors except one actress. Which pretty much was a challenge in itself too.
The consequences of a stubborn decision of casting real and raw faces from the locality could be regretful unless you are very lucky. The list can go on and on, but who doesn’t face a challenge while performing a task. And what is a film without challenges?
Did you face any problems in releasing the film?
The film hasn’t released yet, so this answers the question. No maker wants to wait very long for his/her creation to be showcased in front of a very large audience.
Though being in a competitive industry, it is a bigger hustle to get a release even after making it to the completion of a full-fledged feature.
What was your background before making your first film?
I have been in this industry for the past 10 years now. I started as a Junior artist, and then a background dancer, I did stunts and also worked as an assistant to many choreographers and directors.
How do you think filmmakers like you can overcome common challenges like finance and distribution?
For independent filmmakers, there are thousands of film festivals where your content can get clicked by distributors and produces from around the world. There are platforms like NFDC film bazaar where you have the ability to present your film specifically to buyers, distributors, and festival directors. And then there is this rapidly growing crowdfunding culture, proven to help many filmmakers globally with its reach. Finances and distribution are not some mystery puzzle anymore, it just depends on your research and persistence.
How to reach Junaid Khalifa
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