How Match My [Talent] Materialized India’s Biggest Virtual Film Festival

In the age of coronavirus and subsequent social isolation, digital virtualizing a film festival while trying to maintain the core essence of a film festival is a next-to-impossible task.

However, no mountain is impossible, as long as you take little steps each day. For the 2nd edition of Malhaar, we have left no stone unturned to make this festival the first truly global and inclusive festival, serving as a golden launchpad for independent and small-to-micro-budget filmmakers and content creators.

In 2020, when the first-ever Malhaar Film Fest was held, it was just a social experiment, designed to capture people’s collective creative expressions of life in lockdown during the CoVid-19 pandemic. Evidently, the theme back then was the lockdown, which included all themes that could be wrapped into the discourse of lockdown- like social isolation, mental stress, migration during the pandemic, etc.

But as we moved on from the pandemic and its looming fears, Malhaar too became more than a social experiment…it became a support line for the amazing and severely talented, small-budget, independent, non-celebrity filmmakers who came out during the first season. Ever since then, it has become necessary to host this event every year, for those very talented filmmakers, and for thousands more who have yet to make their debut in Malhaar.

The 360-Hour Challenge

One of the most exciting aspects of Malhaar Season 2 has been the conceptualization of the 360-Hour Filmmaking Challenge.

Through this initiative, we have been able to reach out to truly highly local and regional, independent, small-time, aspiring filmmakers, and give them the right push to take their skills and creativity to the next level.

Within the 360-Hour Challenge, participants were asked to create a short film of no more than 12 minutes, within 360 Hours. Sounds easy enough right? Well, not quite. Participants were required to incorporate certain keywords in their film that were given by the team at Malhaar. These keywords could be used in any measure, whether as dialogue, or as themes, topics, or props.

Around 50 keywords were chosen, each of which either reflected the situations around the world or were words of the season. And let’s just say, we are in awe of how creatively people have incorporated those keywords into their content.

Around 25 submissions were received as entries for the 360-Hour Filmmaking Challenge, from across the length and breadth of India. The Challenge began on April 1 and officially ended on April 15, 2022. The winners of the challenge will be honored during the Malhaar Main Festival.

Theme-based Season 2 of Malhaar Film Festival 

Film Festivals usually do not follow a thematic pattern while accepting submissions. In the first edition of Malhaar Film Festival, we received a mountain’s worth of films from submitters across the world, mostly because we accepted films not only from filmmakers but non-filmmakers and/or aspiring filmmakers as well. Since the featured theme was synchronous to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, and lockdown as a theme is quite broad, we discovered that almost every film was, if going by the set parameters of lockdown-based themes, eligible for consideration. Even though we were thrilled to have received such enormous amounts of submissions and participation, for a small team like ours, it gets quite difficult to properly assess each of these movies. Also since the genres and subjects and themes are so vastly different from each other, it gets quite difficult to compare them on a unified scale of comparison.

Also, since the last edition was quite a breezy affair in terms of selection eligibility criteria, we decided it was time to up the game a bit…make it more interesting! We wanted to see how people bring life to some mere words, how they interpret it and build a whole story around them. And boy! Were we amazed at the range of people’s creativity?

Global through Local 

In Malhaar season 1, a majority of the creators and participant filmmakers were from Europe. Although we endorse this global cross-cultural exchange, we have also felt a huge dearth of filmmakers’ participation in Film festivals in our own country and primarily in the Indian subcontinent and Asia, when in fact this is precisely one of the world’s largest film hubs. There are tens and thousands of independent, small-budget filmmakers in this country, across the various linguistic pockets of this country, carrying a goldmine of stories and content that needs to be highlighted and pushed to the forefront of global cinema.

But sadly, not nearly enough has been done for the independent filmmakers from our country’s most remote corners, forcing them to create films out of their own little dime. And without proper marketing and in the flood of A-listers’ glamorous, high-budget films, these films struggle to recover their costs at the theatres.

Trying to solve this huge problem that impairs our creativity as a nation, Match My [Talent] has devised a unique format for Malhaar- one that would cater to the international audience that is active on festival circuits and film industries, but would also bring out the flavour of regional cinema and build a local momentum.

Malhaar, in just a couple of years, has become that efficiently inclusive film festival format that has the bandwidth to look towards international productions, as well as include the deeply regional content that deserves to be highlighted. In fact, the Malhaar Short film Festival has designed its format in such a way that enables both Indian regional as well as International features to co-exist together, without competing with each other.

The Malhaar Short Film Festival will be conducted in two phases this season.

  1. Malhaar LOCAL/India Festival: July 9-16, 2022
  2. Malhaar GLOBAL/Global Festival:  August 20-27, 2022

Both timelines will cater to local and international creators and audiences respectively, and the best features will be shortlisted and moved up for screening and/or competition during Malhaar GLOBAL.

Adopting Blockchain for a Better Future:

It is evident that Blockchain technology has a disruptive presence in global technology. The fact that the system of Blockchain, which was primarily used to enable Bitcoin transactions, is now being implemented in other domains of the digital ecosystem, is a testimony to the fact that Blockchain is going to be a force to reckon with…especially in the Indian creative industry.

Yes! Blockchain technology is applicable even in the creative industry. With its cryptographic hashing and use of NFTs, blockchain can be used by creators to leverage their creations to their full monetary value. In other words, with this technology, creators can get paid every time their content is used by some other creator, without worrying about platforms eating up part of the earnings.

Thus, Blockchain is by far the most efficient way to ensure 100% payment back to the original data owners, or artists. This is possible due to the following features of blockchain technology:

  • Transactions are verified and approved by consensus among participants in the network, making fraud more difficult.
  • The full chronology of events (for example, transactions) that take place are tracked, allowing anyone to trace or audit prior transactions.
  • The technology operates on a distributed, rather than centralized, platform, with each participant having access to exactly the same ledger records, allowing participants to enter or leave at will and providing resilience against attacks.

Malhaar Short Film Festival is one of the few non-government and non-financial ventures that are embracing the power of the Blockchain. As a Cinema appreciation fraternity focused on the upliftment of small-time, independent filmmakers (specifically in regional subsections of the film industry), and being a fully virtual event, Malhaar Film Festival takes it upon itself to lead the revolution of blockchain in the Indian Creative Industry.

Integration beyond Malhaar, throughout Match My [Talent]

A common complaint lodged by artists is that, as performance-rights organizations and new intermediaries such as Spotify and YouTube increasingly insert themselves into the value chain between artists and their audiences, artists receive smaller cuts of revenue and have less say over how their creative works are priced, shared, or advertised. For example, on Spotify it would take between 120 to 170 streams for rights holders to receive their first penny.”

The Solution- Blockchain

Blockchain is the world of secure, scalable, and interoperable decentralized applications.

Blockchain redefines how artists are remunerated by acting as a platform for creators of intellectual property to receive value for their work.

Visit to understand in detail how Blockchain works

Yes, Match My [Talent] is en route to adopting this groundbreaking technology, not just for Malhaar, but to enable support to the entirety of operations at Match My [Talent], to ensure our artists get the best deal available!