Abhishek Swain’s black-and-white film, Life Drop, unfolds as a series of images of children and water and lasts only 30 seconds. “A child dies every 30 seconds due to lack of clean and safe drinking water. A child died somewhere in the world while you were watching this film,” says the Odisha-based filmmaker, who shot the film at the Bonda Hills in Koraput. Life Drop was screened at the National Film Achieve of India, Pune, in March and won the Best Film Award at the Human Rights Short Film Festival in Bangladesh in April. In 2018, the 21-year-old filmmaker won Best Film and Best Script, among others, for the film A Daughter’s Letter at Ignite Film Festival. Excerpts from an email interview:
How did you start working on this 30-second film?
I did not plan on making a 30-second film. I was experimenting with my DSLR, but when I started editing the footage, I saw the potential for a film. I converted the point-of-view shots into a 30-second footage and developed the film. Every scene changes with a drop, which provides symbolic representation of a child’s life.
The film talks about water being a human right not a privilege. How did you choose this theme?
I was inspired by an UNICEF article about how a child dies every 30 second because of unavailability of clean water. I wanted to impact the viewers with the importance of saving water. I did not expect awards or honours, especially since Life Drop was rejected at the state level. In fact, someone in the committee told me to present the movie internationally and I did so.
When did you start making films?
I recently completed my B Tech in Computer Science but was always interested in filmmaking. I started making short films three years ago but never received any formal training for it. I have worked with a few production houses but whatever I have learned has been from the internet and my mistakes.
What are your upcoming projects?
I am currently working on a documentary film on Gotipua, a dance form considered as mother of Odissi. It will feature dancers in the age-group of 7-14 years and their stories. I am going to work independently for a while.
There are some stories I want to tell which won’t be possible with big production houses.