Marathi movie channel Zee Talkies, part of the Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), is set to launch 'Talkies Lighthouse - Pravas Goshtincha', an initiative that aspires to provide an ecosystem for talented film makers, especially those who make short films. The channel's objective is to popularise and facilitate appreciation of short films, and present them in a holistically entertaining package, especially for the youth.
The team behind the initiative says that short films as a genre are considered to be niche and are accessed mainly on the digital platform. Through this initiative, Zee Talkies aims to highlight and glorify the unexplored arena of short films, especially in Maharashtra, and therefore, has chosen to call it 'Talkies Lighthouse'.
With the idea to create a complete package for popularising short films in an entertaining manner, the format of the show will have three parts in the form of 'Stories within stories'. It comprises the films themselves, which will be the main component, the director's stories and the journey to facilitate appreciation, as well as the characters or hosts who will present the films to build engagement and entertainment.
It will be a 1.5 hour weekly show, and the films will not be limited to just Marathi, but will be in other languages as well.
He adds, "Since this concept might have a limited pull we are encapsulating it in a show. Its access is limited only to the digital platform and a big chunk of the audience is not even aware of a format like short films. Having said that, since we are a movie channel and also the No.1 reach channel in Maharashtra, we intend to maximise accessibility and educate the audiences of this format of storytelling."
The four main phases this initiative will go through will begin with the show on Zee Talkies which will showcase exclusive language agnostic short films, followed by a contest for the audience to make and send their stories as short films (within two categories: amateur and professional). The next phase will consist of roadshows across Maharashtra which will facilitate sharing of knowledge about making short films, and the last phase will be an on-ground film festival.
The channel intends to launch its first phase, the show, in December 2015, which will be on-air for two months. After the first month, promotions for the contest will begin.
The winning entries, curated from the contest participants, will be showcased on Zee Talkies on what the channel terms 'Mega Sundays'. The team adds that the first season will culminate with the fourth phase of showcasing those films which won.
Janavlekar says, "This initiative will be supported by a strong marketing campaign which will include network support promotions. The value and acquisition of films depends on the duration and impact of the film." He adds, "The youth today consumes a lot of content on the internet and smart phones. But, since, the audience above 30-35 years of age has limited access to smartphones and the internet, this initiative will be driven by television to reach the masses and make this format popular. And, the content collected through our contest will be available on our website as well."