Thoughts from a Participant

By Mantavya Marwah

my-imprisoned-heart-various.jpgMy Imprisoned Heart, 2007

Premiering at the 61st Edinburgh Film Festival, My Imprisoned Heart is the work of 10 teams of filmmakers working in 10 different locations, all from one script. Each team shoots a five-minute episode, with access to a shooting kit and main cast but no additional budget for filming. After the screening we talked to Mantavya Marwah, the director of episode 2.

Interview by Francine Holdgate

“We were working on our final projects for our MA in Kingston University, when we stumbled upon a website that gave us a link to Make Your Mark in Film. We decided to take a break from the hectic university life, we checked out the Make Your Mark organisation, they run lots of things in music, in fashion... We were quite impressed and wanted to take part. The deadline was in two days, so we said, well let’s put something together really quickly, get everything they want – photographs of the locations, detailed storyboards, any changes in scripts, what approach we were taking, backgrounds on all our team, and why are we so interested in doing this. So we finished all this in two days, submitted it by next day delivery, and I got a call the next day saying that we’d got through.

“We wanted to get more exposure of our work, and also to get footholes in this hard to enter industry, where there are so many people fighting for one film. So we wanted to get our work across, and our own messages, what we believe in.

“We had an intense shooting deadline, intense editing, we lost most of our work during the last days, and we really went through it. When we saw it on the big screen it was all worth it. We felt so relieved that all this hard work paid off, because we’d never seen our films on a big screen, so this was a great opportunity for us, at a film festival, to see our work showcased. Just wonderful. We didn’t know what other people were doing, how it was going to turn out. We were just impressed that all of them meshed together, despite all these different locations, different shooting, different things added to the script, it all just fit. I never felt that the film was taking a different turn, or a break, or that we were watching a different film. It held.

my-imprisoned-heart-various-2.jpgMy Imprisoned Heart, 2007

“CobraVision were very helpful, they had a very good team that supported us all through the way. Also they were a link between us and the crew and all the producers, and they always helped us get back onto our feet when we were all down. And we especially enjoyed their food!

If I had a chance to do it again, I would. It is something that all budding filmmakers should try. This experience is amazing, to see your film on the big screen. Stick to your guns. We were trying to have a new idea, that we’d never tried before, and we were taking a big risk. Believe in your own ability. If your heart says so, do it. When we were shooting I was getting so much criticism that this will not work, this is not good, from the actors, from the crew, from everyone around “This is a stupid idea, it will not work, how are you going to edit this, this shot doesn’t make sense”. But at the end I just had to stick to my own guns because I knew it would work, because I believed I could do it. We picked up everything we had and marched on. Let’s just do it the way we want to do it.”

The Make Your Mark in Film scheme was sponsored by CobraVision

Mantavya Marwah has received a scholarship to undertake work with disadvantaged children in India and Russia on a film-making project.

Francine Holdgate is a writer and filmmaker. She lives in London.