I didn't think it was possible when i gave a ring to Adoor one day, in a desperate state of mind after students seemed uninterested and administration adamant regarding the watermark issue. Well, turned out to be possible and i have learnt yet another lesson, thanks to SRFTI. Things might seem impossible, but that just means you are underestimating yourself. I present this beautiful letter to the cinema loving people, to SRFTI who does not seem to be part of it anymore precisely due to its decorum including the watermark. When i was in the screening committee, one of the first things i did was to screen 35mm print of Elippathaayam [The Rat Trap], which is still one of my favourite films. That was a long time ago, when things weren't this complicated in SRFTI. But it remains a milestone in our fight, this letter. Read.
Sri. Amaresh Chakraburtty,
Dear Sri. Amaresh Chakrobarthy,
I am told the student community at the SRFTI is agitated over your new rule that every frame of the student films should bear the watermark of the SRFTI. As a filmmaker I feel that it will mar the look and feel of their work. Understandably, it is an offensive measure you are imposing and the students who are making their first films very rightly feel that it is an encroachment on their creative work.
I do not understand why you should insist on this. There may have been a stray case of an abhorrent ex-student tampering with the producer- title and inserting one’s own name in its place. One dishonest person should not be seen as a true representative of the whole student community.
Have faith in them and they will not let you down.
At the PSBT which I am chairing, we have produced more than 300 debut films and not even one person has let us down either by falsifying credits or by turning recalcitrant. We have vested faith in our youth and they have been reciprocating nicely and honestly.
Please trust your students, they will not frustrate you. Once you start treating them with distrust they will find ways of circumventing your rules. It will not be a happy situation that you would be creating and eventually confronting.
Once the students have expressed their objection to it, I think they have every right to do so, you should have quietly reconsidered your policy. It will not be read as defeat or surrender. Hope I am not sermonizing to someone who I am sure is aware of it all. We all learn from experience.
You can of course insist on a prominent title at the beginning and end of the film that it is produced by the SRFTI and you have every right to take penal action against those who violate it.
After a long time, to the great of us all who love cinema and respect the need for proper formal training in filmmaking, the SRFTI campus has seen peace and progress. Let us preserve it dearly,
Adoor Gopalakrishnan Trivandrum 6-10-2016
The fight shall continue.