Our Own Film Festival #OOFF

Aka Short Films on a Roof

A month ago, three very inebriated friends were discussing movies at 4S in Defence Colony. If you know 4S, then you know that wild ideas fueled on beer (not Kingfisher, which appears to have fallen out of favor with the establishment) and ‘Chinese’ food is not uncommon there. Like most such ideas, the concept disappears when the hangover appears the next morning. The hazy ideas wait until they are resurrected at the next 4S Session. Then forgotten again.


OOFF‘ remained with us.


I like movies and I know other people who like movies; given that this is India, that isn’t much of an achievement. But we also wanted a space where we could show films that we had been making. Films created by people (currently) in Delhi, at a venue where the filmmaker could directly interact with the audience. This is not a novel idea and its not new. If you’ve been to Haus Khas Village (HKV is Delhi’s Hipster Central), then you know other places and other people have done this before. Unfortunately, HKV’s success has ruined it for a number of us: there is simply no space left in the area, what is available is often too expensive.


Logo by Karno Guhathakurta
What is a film festival?
Its not the equipment and often enough, not even the films. It’s the people. When they watch something together, when they discuss and disagree, when they talk, that’s when you have a festival. That’s what I wanted to have: a discussion with people I don’t know and possibly, wouldn’t have met otherwise.
OOFF (Our Own Film Festival) was just that: a cheap LED projector, hooked onto a PC and some speakers, put up in the ‘adequate’ space of a DDA flat’s roof somewhere in the southern tip of Delhi. For the three friends (Shaheen Ahmed, a filmmaker who showcased two of her films, Aazar Anis, a poet and film junkie, and Me) it was about being with other interested people and displaying our work.


Somehow that simple idea worked. On Saturday, the 29th of September, between 25-30 people showed up on my roof and watched film after film from after 10pm to 2am. There were question and answer sessions, there were people who reacted (not always nicely) to what they saw, there were filmmakers who didn’t like the ‘contrast’ in the projected video, at least once the computer+projector died when the electrical connection of the roof started spluttering with sparks. There was drama, some of it on screen and most of it in real life.
Shaheen in her film ‘Refuse/Resist’
The OOFF Roof
For the three (once again) inebriated friends, it took us a while to realize that our little concept worked. And now, we’ve been asked to do OOFF again. Maybe this time we’ll be a bit more thorough with our equipment checks. May be this time, you’ll come join us, with your latest film and a headful of ideas. Otherwise, I’ll see you at 4S.



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