background image

Want to make a film?  

Zafar Anjum’s 

start-up Filmwallas 

provides a 

collaborative film-

making platform 

for amateurs and 

professionals

AMRITA KAUR 

T

ODAY, anyone with a smart-

phone and the desire to make 

a film can easily create and 

share video content.

Mr Zafar Anjum (right) sees his 

11-year-old daughter doing this 

often. She makes videos using her 

iPhone and shares them with her 

friends, and the wider world on 

 

YouTube.

Said Mr Anjum, who also 

has a one-year-old daughter: 

“And she does not do it for 

any monetary benefit. She 

does it for fun and to build 

her social capital. It makes her 

happy. Many of her friends are 

doing the same.”

Mr Anjum recalled his own de-

sire of wanting to make a film 

when he came to Singapore in 2004 

to work as a senior executive in the 

communications department at the 

National Kidney 

Foundation.

The 42-year-old, 

who has a post-

graduate diploma 

in English journal-

ism from Delhi’s In-

dian Institute of Mass Communica-

tion, had no friends who could help 

him put a film together and the only 

skill he had was writing.

Questions such as “Who would 

direct my film and edit it, and where 

would I find actors and other col-

laborators, especially when I had 

nearly a zero dollar budget?” arose 

in his mind.

“There were no answers to all 

these questions. Professionals in the 

film and TV industry wouldn’t both-

er to work with me. They don’t have 

the time to do unpaid stuff.”

He felt that there was a need for 

a platform that solves the problem 

for someone like him — “how to 

find the right people and resources, 

and how to get your perfect team 

together”, said Mr Anjum.

He realised that the entire film-

making ecosystem, from scriptwrit-

ing to finding talent, from funding to 

production, and finally distribution, 

is fragmented.

Mr Anjum “later fulfilled his de-

sire of making a film” during a 

diploma course he took in digital 

film-making at visual arts centre 

Objectifs on Middle Road.

The fragmentation in the field of 

film-making and his daughter’s in-

terest in taking short videos using 

her phone were among the factors 

that sparked his decision to start 

a company like Filmwallas — an 

end-to-end platform that encom-

passes the development of an idea 

for a short film or a documentary or 

feature film to the release of a full-

fledged product.

It helps content creators to find 

talent — both cast and crew — for 

their film projects.

Mr Anjum explained that anyone 

can register themselves on the web-

site — www.filmwallas.com and cre-

ate a film project.

They then fill in the synopsis, log-

line, budget, date and location of the 

film before they search for people 

to work with — actors, directors, 

sound engineers, technicians.

Users can search by criteria such 

as geography, language and level of 

experience. If certain profiles inter-

est the users, they can then send 

them a message that they want to 

work with them and add them to the 

film project.

Film-makers can also constantly 

update their followers with written 

or video posts such as a trailer of 

their movie.

It is the same sign-up process for 

talents such as screenwriters, sound 

engineers, producers and others in 

the film-making industry.

The start-up, founded in 2015 has 

been operating a beta version (a 

version of a piece of software that 

is made available for testing) of its 

website since January this year.

More than 20 Bollywood produc-

ers, directors and performers from 

film, TV, radio and digital media 

are supporting Filmwallas as advi-

sors and mentors, according to Mr 

Anjum, who believes the platform is 

the first of its kind.

He started Filmwallas with his 

own money and later a friend, Arun 

Sundar, came in as a strategic inves-

tor .

Currently, the platform is free for 

everybody to use, except for compa-

nies which engage the start-up.

Once the platform has a size-

able base, Mr Anjum, a permanent 

resident here, said it will adopt a 

freemium model (basic services are 

provided free of charge while more 

advanced features must be paid for) 

for users, in a few years.

One of the companies that Film-

wallas is working with on a video 

crowd sourcing contest is Indian IT 

services company HCL Technolo-

gies. “This is ‘A Cut Beyond’ — a 

short movie contest and an opportu-

nity to innovate for the fastest grow-

ing IT services brand in the world,” 

said Mr Anjum.

The campaign, which is closing its 

registration on April 30, is looking 

for creative film-makers to articu-

late HCL’s brand promise of ‘rela-

tionship beyond the contract’ from 

a new vantage point and provide it 

with a renewed direction.

The first prize is US$5,000, sec-

ond prize US$3,000 and third prize 

US$2,000.

To spread the message of a plat-

form like Filmwallas, Mr Anjum has 

visited film schools in Pune, Chen-

nai, Mumbai, Aligarh and Delhi. The 

start-up is also setting up a technical 

office in Delhi and marketing office 

in Mumbai.

Mr Anjum sees Filmwallas becom-

ing popular globally over the next 

five to 10 years.

“If you think YouTube for video, 

Facebook for social networking, 

Uber for transportation and Airb-

nb for accommodation, then you 

should think of Filmwallas as the 

ultimate place — a one-stop shop — 

for collaborative film-making. That’s 

where the start-up wants to go,” said 

Mr Anjum.

➥ 

amritak@sph.com.sg

PHO

T

O:

 SHAB

ANA ZAHOOR

A fortnightly series 

on Indian start-ups 

in Singapore

Page 6

April 28, 2017

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