Published: 16th July 2018
After his film made the cut at Barcelona film fest, K'taka Govt Teacher stays home because of cash crunch
With no professional training in filmmaking, Umesh Virupakshappa, a Kannada school teacher's first ever feature film has been selected by the Barcelona Planet Film Festival
Belakina Kannadi (Mirror of Light), a film made by a Kannada teacher in Belagavi, Karnataka is making waves after it was selected for a film festival in Barcelona, Spain. Sadly, neither he nor anyone his team has the money to fly to Barcelona for the screening.
Umesh Virupakshappa Badiger (31), a teacher at a Kannada Government Higher Primary School at Markandeya Nagar in Belagavi, decided to make his summer holidays in 2017 useful by doing something he likes. He started working on the feature film in order to keep himself busy. Umesh always had an interest in filmmaking and had previously worked on a short film called Koneya Puta (Last Page) that focused on old age homes and the living conditions of elderly persons.
To the top: The Kannada teacher's film also got selected as a semi-finalist at the Los Angeles CineFest
The film tells the story of a 12-year-old boy, who, inspired by his textbooks and social reform classroom lessons, goes looking for a young groom for his widowed mother. The struggles of the young boy to earn respect and happiness for his mother is the story of Belakina Kannadi. The film was selected by the jury of the Barcelona Planet Film Festival in the Best Narrative Feature Film category.
Belakina Kannadi, which has also been selected at the Los Angeles Film Festival, was his first major feature film project. Umesh wrote the story, screenplay, songs, and the dialogues for the film. The movie is 137 minutes long and was produced by Basavaraj Hammini. "I was encouraged by my friends to turn the story I had written into a movie. The post-production and dubbing were done after the shoot in 2017 and now, the film is with us and is yet to be released. We plan to premiere the film in Bengaluru soon," Umesh adds.
A teacher turned director: Umesh will continue teaching while working on making films
When asked if he is going to Barcelona, he said "I did not dream that the film would reach such heights, I am just glad it did. We were actually sure that the story and concept would hit a chord with filmmakers around the world. However, we are not going as there is not enough funds or anyone necessarily who can sponsor the trip."
Umesh started teaching in 2007 and during the summer vacations, he would work on honing his skills at making films. While they were shooting for Belakina Kannadi in 2017 they did not have proper documents or permission from the government, however later he managed all of that.
Umesh says he wants to continue teaching and would like to work on films only during the summer vacations when he is free and can focus on it. "I don't have professional training, I just do what I like. I haven't worked under a big banner or any large scale professionals earlier. This was my first major project and I would like to do more of such films that deal with social issues," he says.