On a subconscious search of cosmic creativity

On a subconscious search of cosmic creativity
The entire film was shot on the iPhone - from the poster and even the voiceover. This is the second film in a trilogy that I'm making over 16 years called - "The Lines Trilogy"

Chasing Lines by filmmaker Uzair Merchant is the second film in 'The Lines Trilogy' that has won him international acclaim



by

Suchitra Steven Samuel

Published: Mon 31 Dec 2018, 10:12 AM

Last updated: Mon 31 Dec 2018, 12:34 PM

Dubai-based filmmaker and designer Uzair Merchant prefers to be called a "kreativ junkie and a citizen of the world". Inside, he is a martial artist and on the outside, a creative freak always trying to push the limits and defy norms. He has nine international awards to his credit and has eight added nominations as finalists or official selections at film festivals - from the Los Angeles Film Awards, New York Film Awards, Virgin Spring Cinefest in Kolkata, and many more. He has won in multiple categories too, ranging from Best Indie Filmmaker, Best Short Film and Best Mobile Film.
Describing his short film Chasing Lines that propelled him to fame and produced with a budget of $3,700, he says, "It is a subconscious search of cosmic creativity, a dialogue with the earth. The entire film was shot on the iPhone - from the poster to even the voiceover. This is the second film in a trilogy that I'm making over 16 years called - 'The Lines Trilogy'. The first one was called In Between Lines, this one is Chasing Lines, and the last one will be Beyond Lines - all made eight years apart from the other."
In Between Lines talks about roads to people and how the paths we build are similar to the way our lives are set - like roads and intersections crossing and connecting each other. Chasing Lines is understanding that all elements of the universe are made of lines. Be it your DNA or the heart rate monitor, or be it animals, humans or things - lines are what make them. The third one, Beyond Lines, will be about what happens when each journey reaches that end of the line. What then?
Merchant describes his feelings as he shot the film, "There are a couple of shots where I experimented using Einstein's theory of relativity - where the actor is moving at a different time, to the rest of the world and the audience sees it in a totally different time - making it single moment views in multiple times that come together for a single shot. Genevieve and Max (the actors) were brilliant. Taking 20 minutes to walk 10 steps in super super slow motion is not easy. They were spot on. Having people that believe in your vision turns negative feelings while shooting into magical moments."
As a creative person, Merchant has been hugely inspired by the 'Qatsi Trilogy' produced by Godfrey Reggio as well as films like Samsara and Baraka by Ron Fricke that made non-narrative films tell more deeply rooted stories with the visual characters of life rather than actors, making reality almost a work of fiction. "These are brilliant films that take a visual experience to a whole new level," Merchant says.
Speaking on the future of short films, he adds, "It will always be there due to people's short attention span. Short films are being shown as 'AD films' or commercials nowadays. I think the elements of capturing the attention and sending a specific message works best with short films and not to forget - filmmakers have to start somewhere - that's short!"
Merchant has been using social media to promote the film. "We've released the film on Facebook and social media, but it can also be found on my company page - bkreativ productions @officialbkp - where we are promoting it not only to target faculties and filmmakers but also a global audience. Besides this, we had the New York Film Academy do a press release and put out on their social media platforms, and the Nottingham Trent University, both of which I am an alumnus. We've done interviews with the press in India, the Cult Critic Film Magazine, and 89.1 radio 4 in Dubai, who have helped us extend our reach and promote the film," he notes.
On whether YouTube is a legitimate platform for short films, Merchant replies, "I'm not sure it is. I think YouTube is great to show short films as a basic database for it to be there, but a legitimate platform for me is film festivals. It's what filmmakers need - feedback, interaction with the audience in person, and seeing the film on the big screen, which makes it all so real."
Is writing a screenplay for a short film more difficult than a feature film? Merchant says, "I don't think they can be compared so easily. It's a different ball game with features to shorts, the whole arc of writing for them is different. I think each one is difficult in their respective ways - as engaging the audience is always challenging."
To the question on whether a person who knows nothing about cameras and lens be a director, he replies, "Yes and no. Yes, because you have to start somewhere, so am sure it's a vision that is the most important thing needed. They need to have the right vision and tenacity to deliver that. No, because once you get to the next level and push boundaries on a bigger scale, you need the lingo and vocabulary to communicate with the crew to give the director his vision. At that point, I think it's important to know the tech and what goes with it."
Merchant is already at work on his next film. "I have another short written up already, as well as a mini-series TV show that's in progress at the moment. Besides this, I've had a feature I've worked on for over eight years, and it's ready to push out. We are currently approaching the right partners to do so," Merchant reveals.
On his favourite short film, Merchant says, "I remember a short film I saw about a man entering a shop to buy something and the clock shows 10 minutes to the hour, while at the same time a young kid who leaves his house to get milk for his family in another country, and how in the same 10 minutes of one person shopping, the kid loses his family in a bomb blast. The comparison of what 10 minutes does was brilliant and very thought-provoking."
Besides the films, Merchant has also production designed for theme parks in Dubai. At Global Village, he has not only developed and built the Indian and European pavilions, but also created all the six new bridges at the festival. "I've been designing for almost seven years, and it's been great to see the Global Village grow and be a part of it," he concludes.
- suchitra@khaleejtimes.com

The entire film was shot on the iPhone — from the poster and even the voiceover.
The entire film was shot on the iPhone — from the poster and even the voiceover.
The entire film was shot on the iPhone — from the poster and even the voiceover.
The entire film was shot on the iPhone — from the poster and even the voiceover.
This is the second film in a trilogy that I’m making over 16 years called – “The Lines Trilogy
This is the second film in a trilogy that I’m making over 16 years called – “The Lines Trilogy
This is the second film in a trilogy that I’m making over 16 years called – “The Lines Trilogy
This is the second film in a trilogy that I’m making over 16 years called – “The Lines Trilogy

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