SWA felicitated the winners in its office and had a brief chat with them. Here's the video and text of the Q&A. Please check out the video / Q&A to know how to discover new avenues for your writings..
Q. How did you come to know about Cinefantasy? Manassvi - I was submitting my short, ‘Blues’, which also screened in NFDC, Goa 2016, on this website called, FilmFreeway. There I stumbled upon Cinefantasy Short Screenwriting Competition. It was being held by International Council for Films, Television and Audiovisual Communication (ICFT) which is an advisory body of UNESCO. So I told Ilashree, that it seems authentic and genuine, let’s do it.
Ilashree- Yep, and the best part was free submissions here. No fee at all. So we could do it.
Q. What was the eligibility and criteria for the submission? Manassvi- Anyone was allowed to submit from any part of the globe as long as they were 36 years of age or younger. They wanted a short script of not more than 30 minutes, with proper synopsis. When we went and met the Judges in Macao. They told us, a lot of entries were rejected because they had no synopsis. We thanked our stars because we had submitted our script at the eleventh hour, and with just a 4-liner synopsis.
Q. What inspired you to write Legacy of Dreams? Ilashree- When I was schooling in Lucknow, every friend of mine was joining IIT or medical coachings. And we were just 16 then, can you imagine? 16 is supposed to be the prime time of your life when you are fuelled with passion to follow your dreams. And these talented kids were running a race to get into something they never liked. It really disheartened me. Thats when I thought of what if we had something like a Dream Bank that reinforces one's belief in their dreams. Later I wrote a Feature for it but never found good Producers. Then my sister, Manassvi said we can tweak it and send it as a Short Script. But I was going through a really depressive phase then. So she helped me co-write it. In fact, she also pushed me real hard to get up and write no matter how low or pathetic I felt. She would say, this is a story not just for you, but for everyone who has stopped dreaming.
Manassvi - Through Legacy of Dreams, I wanted to convey the message to one and all that the age, gender and circumstances don't matter when one has a dream to pursue. It is also inspired by our own lives. We both have had our share of upheavals in our profession but our dream is to tell stories. We are following our dream and the joy is unparallel.
Q. What is Legacy of Dreams about?
Ilashree - It is a story of a girl who is stuck in her monotonous life and has stopped dreaming, but then she suddenly gets a call from a phantasmagorical Dream Bank that tells her that her account will be closed soon as she hasn’t credited any dreams in it since a long time. The Dream Bank helps her to reinforce her belief in her dreams, but she finds it difficult to dream without her magical password. So it’s basically an inspiring story for anyone and everyone today.
Q. Have you taken any formal training in Screenplay Writing? Ilashree - Nope, neither of us. Though I did have Cinema as a subject in my graduation for six months, but working and self-learning taught me more and better than anything else.
Manassvi - I always had an idea about writing screenplays as I have taken formal training in Barry John’s Acting Studios and I also used to perform in Bhartendu Natya Academy Lucknow. We are given a lot of screenplays to enact. And reading screenplays helps a lot.
Q. How was the competition in Macao?
Manassvi- From 44 countries and about 165 valid submissions, they shortlisted about 60 scripts and later closed the list on six finalists from six different countries, China, Belgium, USA, Canada, Thailand and India. We were then invited to International Film Festival and Awards, Macao and each finalist was given 15 minutes of stage time to present their scenarios in any audio-visual format in front of a special Jury and Public Session. There was also a question and answers session, followed by a one-to-one session with Judges two days later. The Competition was really healthy and tough. All the finalists had great storylines and amazing scripts. But I think our script won, as the Judges said, it has a great appeal for Humanity.
Q. What next after winning this prize? Manassvi - We would certainly want Legacy of Dreams to be made into a film. This sort of story is the need of the hour and must be presented to the audiences of the whole world. Though it's a fantasy but it’s also a reminder that miracles happen and dreams do come true in the real world.
Ilashree - That’s right, we are now looking for producers and financiers who can fund Legacy of Dreams.