In order to discuss the future of digital space; whether it is a threat to cinema or a platform to showcase creative works, a panel discussion on the topic ‘Digital Space: The Future Ahead’ was conducted on the sixth day of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
The panel was lead by members of the film industry and digital world that included directors Shekhar Kapur and Sudhir Mishra, director-content, Amazon Prime Video India, Vijay Subramaniam; CEO, ALT Digital, Nachiket Pantvaidya; CEO – Applause Entertainment, Sameer Nair and filmmaker and producer, Karan Anshuman.
Shehkar Kapur spoke about how the digital space is heading towards democracy and allowing people the freedom to express their stories. He said: “If anyone believes that they want to tell a story then they can tell a story by using various mediums but what is the story is to be decided. Another question that arised is that who decides the content? Is it the directors or the public or the audience or the gatekeepers? That’s the question.”
Explaining the idea of gatekeepers in cinema, Kapur said mediums like Netflix and Amazon are the new gatekeepers. “In earlier times there were studios, and then came the producers. We have to decide what cinema is. Digital is undercutting the idea of iconism. Inertia is being sucked out of the system. A major technological shift takes place every 350 days. Technology is moving so fast and effectively storytelling is a rebellious medium,” added Kapur.
He also added that there is a need for filmmakers to adapt to new styles. “Being in the industry for several years I realised that films were not series of shots but a series of story-telling and filling the gap with information and a story that showed continuity,” added Shehkar.
While Sameer Nair pointed out to the ongoing battle between cinema and digital media, he said: “It is always the audience who decides. Even now if we look at the gatekeepers they are driven by money motive and are always looking at what people are looking for.”
Vijay Subramaniam spoke about how Amazon is targeting the local audience, he said: “We were pretty much confident that Indian storytellers can never run out of content and therefore we have ventured into the digital medium. It reaches out to mass audiences.”
Director, Sudhir Mishra also mentioned about how the digital content leaves little cloud for self-censorship and allows one to freely put up his work on the web.