It all started when Rashmi Ambastha, a writer at RK Swamy BBDO, came to know about a short filmmaking competition, called ‘48 hours Film Project’, being held for the first time in Delhi. The competition, organised in more than 100 cities around the world, is already quite a rage among short filmmaking fans in India and has been running successfully for the last four years in Mumbai. Ambastha then shared the idea of making a short film with her friends from Client Servicing, Account Planning, Designing and Writing, at RK Swamy BBDO, and thus was born ‘Junkyard Productions’ under the confines of the agency. As a befitting compensation for the discovery of the competition on Google, Ambastha patented herself as Team Leader (and now also lays claim on the tag of Founder-Member) of Junkyard Productions.
With their theme ‘Mockumentary’, a character Dhooniya Lal, and a mandatory dialogue ‘I Love Delhi’, team Junkyard Productions got down to create ‘A Touching Story’ in just 48 hours. “Rashmi discovered the competition and pulled us all into it. And we were lucky that there were no Monday presentations on that golden weekend - as we now call it,” reminisced Ankur Suman, Brand Design Director at RK Swamy BBDO, who wrote the script for the film and also called the shots as the Director.
So how did the team manage the film along with pitches, work and deadlines? Suman shared, “Being in advertising we have been acclimatised to late night working and adhering to absurdly short deadlines. That practice helped us a lot. Now in hindsight, I can say that we treated it as a pitch, not consciously though! The other aspect that became our strength was phenomenal team work. People stuck to the tasks assigned to them, without poking their nose in areas handled by others. It ensured smooth functioning. We managed our resources well.”
But what none of these amateur filmmakers knew at that time was that they were making the most award winning film of that competition. The sweat and efforts of those 48 hours got team Junkyard the Best Film, Best Actor, Best Writing, Best Use of Dialogue and Audience Choice awards, along with the grand prize of Rs 1 lakh, at the 48 Hours Film Project. Since then, the film has travelled to many cities, being screened in Vadodara, Darpana Art Academy in Ahmedabad, Blue Frog and Jai Hind College in Mumbai, Poorvi Sanskriti Kendra and India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, and even the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) held in Goa. The film has also been nominated for Jaipur International Film Festival 2012 and will be screened there.
And with all the attention that the film has received, Dhooniya Lal aka Abhishek Dubey, Copywriter with RK Swamy BBDO and also the lead actor in the film, has suddenly come in the limelight. Having written copy for brands like Parryware, ONGC, Roka, and Revital, acting was altogether a new experience, said Dubey, adding, “I knew I could do it, but I never expected such a phenomenal response. The ‘Guard’ personality has been sticking to me since then, but that happens with actors, isn’t it?”
KS Chakravarthy aka Chax, National Creative Director, DraftFCB Ulka, who was one of the Jury members at the competition, called the Junkyard team’s effort outstanding and added, “I am absolutely delighted to learn that this was created by a team from an agency. I had no idea. Bravo, people! The outstanding aspect of this film is the basic premise – an ‘untouchable’, who becomes a security guard, whose job all day long is to run his hands over people, and does so almost as vengeance. Then the writing – the ‘mockumentary’ aspect – is brilliantly handled.”
Chax also urged creative heads in the agencies to support endeavours like these. He remarked, “I think such a forum is an outstanding opportunity for young creatives to whet their skills in almost all aspects of film making, from scripting through direction through post. I really think every NCD should take a leaf out of this young team’s book and actively encourage agency teams to participate, providing the funding and logistical support – I am certainly going to do so at Draftfcb Ulka. Telling a story in 6 minutes is probably the best possible training for telling a story in 30 seconds – it is long enough to force you to flesh out characters, back stories, pacing – and yet short enough to teach you discipline. And because of the time constraint, it focuses on the creative essence rather than gloss and glitz.”
Suman called the response to the film “overwhelming and intoxicating” and added, “The organisation gave us full support in terms of infrastructure and encouragement. Though there was nothing official about this effort and it was purely extra-curricular, RK Swamy BBDO was very supportive and the doors of the office were opened for us through those 48 hours. And when you are shooting a film about a security guard, you need the doors to be opened literally as well!”
Script & Direction: Ankur Suman
Cast: Abhishek Dubey, Abhishek Kumar, Harsh, Pankaj, Vibhor, Amita, Suraaj, Ankur Suman
Cinematography: Arnab Datta Chaudhuri, Rashmi Ambastha
Production: Abhishek Kumar, Amita Khanwal, Harsh Chitra, Harsh Shinde, Pankaj Bora, Vibhor Bajaj
Editing: Asheesh, Garima Arora (Invicta)
Music: Vaibhav Saxena Productions
Sound: Invicta & Vaibhav Saxena Productions