By Mukund Hukeri.
Texas Kannada Short Film Festival (TKSFF) is a novel series of cinematic events bringing creativity, excitement, and unity amongst everyone; especially the 3,000 families speaking Kannada language across Texas.
TKSFF was conceived at a time when Texans and the world began to live with the fear and experience of health crises, social isolation, economic uncertainty, and stress.
A group of friends, acquaintances and strangers living across Texas, and sharing a common language and culture, got together to form the TKSFF Focus Group.
The vision was to give an exciting, unique, thought-provoking, and collaborative activity for people to do; all while promoting Kannada language.
Being die-hard movie and celebrity fans by nature, the idea caught on very quickly and many people came forward to make their own films.
The mass appeal of TKSFF attracted 12 businesses to generously sponsor the events.
Similarly, 48 individuals and families opened their hearts and wallets, to donate for this event.
By the time the movies were completed, a total of 26 Kannada language-centric short films, each with 5 to 10 crew and cast, were made in the cities of Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
The Focus Team began formulating the criteria for the short films and shared them with the Producers and their teams.
Each film was required to be around 20 minutes in length, rated to appear as PG-13, mainly in the language of Kannada, mostly shot in Texas, 1080p in resolution, etc.
To built anticipation and excitement among the masses, each Producer was first asked to create a movie poster, followed by a Teaser and finally the film.
To enhance curiosity amongst the population, there was to be a 3 to 4-week gap between each deliverable.
The posters, teasers and finally the short films were marketed using social media platforms and local Kannada associations across Texas.
Since all the Producers were doing such a project for the first time in their lives, TKSFF invited movie-making Subject Matter Experts (SME) from India to participate as Panelists in several webinars.
These SMEs shared their expertise and experiences and fielded questions from the crew and cast of the 26 short films.
The content and timing of the webinars were aligned to the milestones planned by the 26 movie teams.
This way, the recipients got relevant and appropriate information at the right stage of their movie making.
For example, the webinars began with providing expert advice on story and screenplay just as the movie making process took off and ended with film editing webinars, just the movie shootings came to an end.
The crew and cast of the 26 short films were constantly aware and concerned about the rate of infection in their respective towns and counties.
Everyone practiced social distancing and masking to the maximum extent possible, given that movie shooting did involve proximity and without masks.
Each team member exhibited immense sense of responsibility to themselves, their family, teams, and the community in general with best hygiene practices.
In the end, they all completed their movies by the deadline and marketed them to everyone they knew, across their city and around the world.
TKSFF has empowered the minds and pushed the limits of creativity within the 10,000+ Kannada speaking population of Texas.
What started off as a Eureka moment in the mind of one Texan was nourished, expanded, and perfected by acquaintances, who ultimately became more than family.