Opinion: Why Filmmaking Matters Now More Than Ever
A number of film school graduates started their career in what is the toughest time for the film and entertainment business globally. Like graduates and freshers from other disciplines, they too perhaps wonder about the relevance of art and cinema at a time full of strife such as this.
When people are battling for their life, critical resources are stretched and one of the most basic freedoms, the freedom to move around is shrinking, it is all the more important to acknowledge the importance of arts and cinema to our mental and emotional health.
Fleeting joys like a beautiful painting or a poem or a thought-provoking film are even more precious now as they encourage us to live in the moment and appreciate the good things, no matter how dire the circumstances.
Film making is more challenging now, especially if you have just embarked on the journey. Everything right from finding the right projects, actors, funding to the sheer difficulty of shooting within the pandemic gives a renewed perspective on the seamless experience of film-making pre-pandemic. Yet, it is important to roll with the changes and challenges because there is no greater joy than bringing a film alive on the screen.
A film is more than virtual escape from reality. It is a decadent experience, much like enjoying a glass of fine wine or a piece of rich cake. In times of crisis, the role of arts is more central to our life and well-being.
People are now sharing their favourite movie playlists, songs, videos and poetry on social media to break through the isolation and to celebrate life in their own way, when they are isolated and trapped in their homes.
This is not merely a casual swap of lists or hobbies. It is a manifestation of the personality of the list-maker, the one who loves romantic comedies, the one who can’t resist a good murder mystery or obscure documentaries.
When our movement got restricted, these books, artworks and films offered us the chance to be mobile in a fictional world. Cinema is now more important than ever because it also allows the artists an escape. Actors who become the characters and find a mental break from reality, writers who share these stories and travel within them, or the directors who bring the vision alive by living these stories.
Similarly, producers and production houses are placing a huge bet financially by making films when the economy is struggling. The entertainment industry has been disrupted like never before. Still, producers continue to search for good content and stories that they can share.
Creativity and innovation thrive during crises. We now have a template for films that use virtual production techniques, automatic dialogue replacement and creative distancing. Virtual production enables the film to be made without having all of the production team in the same physical space. Creative teams can collaborate virtually.
Yes, coronavirus will change how we operate and even make the process lengthier or tedious. But it cannot change the raison d’être of cinema. The movies created during the depression or recession are a good reminder that you can build great works of art despite the challenges. And the tenacity of the filmmaking industry shows that storytelling is all that matters. It provides refuge from a dreary world, even if for a few hours. The show must go on. Long live cinema.