Tamil Short Film Festival gathers increasing interest

Dr Mithila Durai

Auckland, July 3, 2018

July marks a special month as the Tamil Short Movie Association New Zealand (TASMANZ) Short Film Festival rolls around again: a memorable red-carpet event in which locally made short films are proudly screened to the community, concluding with an award ceremony.

Encouraging youngsters

TASMANZ is a collective, made up by and for young talent, fuelled by creativity and driven by the passion and desire to produce high-quality Tamil short films.

This growing niche aims to foster support and encourage the growth of creative arts within the Tamil community.

I believe this is an appropriate notion at a much-needed time.

Tamil, as one of the seven oldest languages still spoken in the world today, and as one of the two recognised classical languages of India, has been described as unique not just in its antiquity but its continuity throughout the ages.

Displaced Tamil Diaspora

Unfortunately, the language is but dying; with a large internationally displaced diaspora following years of political conflict (Sri Lanka), and in the day-to-day life currently more words are being substituted and lost, more families are selecting not to speak it within their homes or teach it to the next generation.

As art or ‘Kalai’ is a foundation stone by which Tamil has survived through over 2000 years, short films may serve as a new generation digital platform to renew and build our stories on.

Remerging interest

Certainly, there has been a surge of interest since the festival began in 2015, attracting more and more competitors such that the top eight films are now selected for screening. This year brings fresh talent from Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch and Auckland alongside established teams competing again from last year. The quality of short films being made by enthusiasts has increased exponentially, and some of the artists and crew have attracted interest from overseas film industries.

Twelve-Minute films

Teams are given six months to produce a twelve-minute short film, fully filmed in New Zealand by New Zealand cast and crew and which needs to incorporate a special TASMANZ challenge aspect, thereby creating a common thread or theme.

The films have an international judging panel comprising professionals in the industry. Fifteen awards in total will be distributed this year, by our four distinguished guests of honour.

While the films have Tamil dialogue, all of the movies have subtitles thus catering for and encouraging wider community involvement and support. Future collaborations with other Indian-based languages and establishing networks towards promoting growth of short film in native languages is much welcomed.

Be sure to catch the showcase of short film finalists and awards ceremony at the TASMANZ Short Film Festival 2018, scheduled to be held on July 7, 2018 at the Bruce Ritchie Performing Arts Centre, located at 274 Don Buck Road, Massey West, Auckland.

About Yugendran Vasudevan

Yugendran is an eminent Indian film industry personality, a film actor, music director and singer who has released more than 600 songs under the music direction of Maestro Ilayaraja, Oscar award winner A. R. Rahman and several other directors. Yugendran is the son of the late veteran popular playback singer and actor Malaysia Vasudevan. He has hosted and produced several prominent Indian TV programmes and has an independent events and video production company Rambutan Media Works with branches in India.

About Hayma Malini Yugendran

Hayma Malini is a popular award-winning RJ and past television anchor and producer of prominent Indian TV programmes as well for the Singaporean-Tamil language documentary, informational educational talk show ‘Achamillai Achamillai.’

She has an independent events and video production company Rambutan Media Works with branches in India. Hayma Malini is the holder of multiple beauty pageant titles including recipient of the Miss Singapore/Intercontinental 1994 title.

Padma Akula

A graduate in Applied Communications and New York Film Academy-trained screen play writer, Padma has been working as a film maker in several mainstream Indian cinemas, including assistant direction under the legendary Mani Ratnam, as well as here in New Zealand.

She also has a passion for theatre and is has multi-roles as assistant director, choreographer, makeup artist, actor, dancer, wardrobe design, etc. for the award-winning Theatre company Prayas.

About Ahi Karunaharan

A graduate of Victoria University of Wellington and Toi Whakaari, New Zealand School of Drama, Ahi is an actor, writer, tutor, pianist and director.

He has performed both nationally and internationally and continues to develop his craft through collaboration with various companies and artists from around the globe.

He has played a significant role as teacher and mentor in developing emerging actors’ skills, working with Youth Theatre companies such as Youth Theatre works and Prayas Youth Theatre.

Dr Mithila Durai is a Research Fellow (Audiology) at the School of Population Health located at the Tamaki Innovation Campus of the University of Auckland.

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(Tamil Short Film Festival Poster Supplied)

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