Bhargav Saikia’s fantasy genre short, The Black Cat to have its world premiere at FilmQuest in Utah, USA on September 13, 2017.
The film is nominated for the Best Fantasy Short Film Award at the festival held from September 8-16, 2017.
The film will also be screened at the Bengaluru International Short Film Festival in the Indian Competition section, Signs Festival in Kochi in the Fiction Competition section and McMinnville Short Film Festival in Oregon, USA in September. It will have a special screening at the Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival in Guwahati, Assam on 17th September – the leading film festival of Northeast India.
The Black Cat, an official adaptation of a short story by the celebrated Indian author, Ruskin Bond is a Fantasy genre film – a genre which is not often explored in Indian cinema.
The film features the veteran actor, Tom Alter as Ruskin Bond and Shernaz Patel as an English Witch, Miss Bellows and a black cat in the titular role.
The film has been shot at a beautiful colonial property near Nainital in Uttarakhand, which was built in the late 1880s by the British. It also features important landmarks in Mussoorie and Nainital.
The films’ Visual effects are done by Phantom-FX in Chennai who were also responsible for the VFX of major parts of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.
Previous official film adaptations of Ruskin Bond’s stories include Vishal Bhardwaj’s 7 Khoon Maaf and The Blue Umbrella, Shyam Benegal’s Junoon.
Tom Alter’s close friendship with Ruskin Bond in real-life makes his performance special. Tom Alter is from Landour, where Ruskin Bond resides. This association and Tom Alter’s casting have already generated curiosity about the film.
Shernaz Patel gives a memorable performance as a traditional English Witch. Last such memorable performance in Indian cinema was by Shabana Azmi in Vishal Bharadwaj’s debut feature film, Makdee. Other iconic witches in world cinema include those in films like Wizard of Oz (Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West), Into the Woods (Meryl Streep as the Witch), the witches featured in the Harry Potter movies and witches of the iconic Halloween themed film, Disney’s Hocus Pocus.
FilmQuest is one of the top festivals in the USA for genre cinema (fantasy, sci-fi, horror). Featured consistently in Moviemaker Magazine’s top film festivals in the US. More festival screenings expected in the next few months.
About Bhargav Saikia
Bhargav Saikia, the director, and producer of The Black Cat is a filmmaker from Assam based in Mumbai. His previous films have been screened in-competition at several top genre film festivals, including the Academy Awards accredited Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival (Spain), Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival (Switzerland), Razor Reel Flanders Fantastic Film Festival (Belgium), Fantastic Planet: Sydney Sci-fi and Fantasy Film Festival (Australia) and Jeonju International Film Festival (South Korea).