Published: 01st March 2017
Writer, director Rojin Thomas shares what it's like to direct a film at just 20
Philips and the Monkey Pen director says that it takes a good script to make a director confident
At a time when Mollywood had ample superstar-driven films and those catering to the youth, Rojin Thomas and his friends came out with Philips and the Monkey Pen, a film focussed on the innocence of a little boy that garnered the attention of a mixed audience. They went on to bag the Kerala State Film Award for Best Children's Film, Best Children's Film Director and Best Child Artist.
But the story of Philips and the Monkey Pen doesn't stop there. The crew is now in the writing phase of a sequel to the 2013 movie. "The film will deal with the issues of adolescence. There have been movies which have discussed teenage issues and those like Monkey Pen which have dealt with issues of little kids, but I think the issues and confusions of adolescence need more screen time. And let me emphasise that it was never the idea to make a sequel," says Rojin.
Rojin was just 20 when he wrote and co-directed Philips and the Monkey Pen. The courage to captain a crew at an age younger than most of the crew does come from a special place, he says, "I had the courage to do films even before that. Cinema has been my passion for a long time and I had done short films during my school days. But when you has a strong script in hand, you exude confidence."
Rojin believes that apart from financial success, a film's success can be measured in two parts. The first and the most basic criteria is whether the story has been understood clearly by the audience; and then the acceptance of the film comes in second, he feels. "Back then, we would shoot footage, edit, and put it out in public. I realised that people could understand what I was trying to say," he says proudly.
Rojin, who had studied BSc Nautical Science, soon realised that he could do better than sailing, so he joined Cochin Media School. But even the restrictions of a classroom couldn't contain his passion for cinema. He has made about eight short films till now, and Radio, for which he had written the script and was associated with direction, went on to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in the short film category in 2013. Coming from a family with no film experience, he says, "My family was happy for me when I decided to make a movie, at the same time they were anxious as we were new to the industry. Yet, they were supportive as I had already proved I could create good cinema."