MetFilm School Berlin earns festival praise with lockdown short, Cold Meat
By Danny Kelly
25 June 2020
MetFilm School Berlin student, Mohd Shabaz (MA Directing) is celebrating after his film Cold Meat won Best Student Microfilm at the IndieX Film Festival, Los Angeles and Outstanding Achievement awards in Student Short, Director and Producer categories at Indie Short Fest, LA.
Made with fellow students during lockdown, Cold Meat is not for the faint of heart. The single-take film mixes psychological and physical horror to tell a disturbing story of domestic violence during the current pandemic.
Mohd explained: “Cold Meat gets its name from a short story by Saadat Hassan Manto, whose work and life has inspired me. It talks about the horrors of domestic violence; hearing the news about the increase of this during lockdown affected me, and I wanted to express my feelings.”
“This film was only possible with a strong crew of friends. I wanted to shoot this film in one take which was really challenging, but Abhishek (Kolge, MA Cinematography) pulled it off with such ease. Strong performances gave the film the intensity that I had visualised and I am thankful to them all for being a part of it.”
The film is also competing in other international festivals including STIFF, Cannes Short Film Festival and Berlin Student Film Festival.
We caught up with Mohd to find out more about his creative journey to date…
Passion for Cinema
“I fell in love with films as a child. My early memory of watching films was of my father and elder brother getting VHS tapes of classic films like The Karate Kid and the Indiana Jones series. We would sit and watch them together. The magical world that was created by the action sequences, the iconic dialogues, the emotions portrayed in these films influenced me deeply. Films made me believe that anything is possible.”
Life Before Film School
It was in Mumbai where Mohd got his first break in the film and television industry interning as an Assistant Director. Over the following six years, Mohd worked for various TV channels including MTV, History TV and TimesNow Group and corporate advertising for big-name brands.
“Growing up, I watched films but I never realised I could study films as art. It was only when I was studying Journalism, and I interned with a news channel in Mumbai that I came to know different aspects of filmmaking for the first time. The world behind the camera fascinated me more, I saw the madness, the chaos and the adrenaline associated with it and it was then I knew I wanted to be a part of this world.”
Joining MetFilm School Berlin
Mohd decided that he wanted to become a filmmaker but knew he didn’t have the luxury of spending years studying the craft, he’d built a professional life for himself in Mumbai and wasn’t ready to leave that behind.
“I happened to come across MetFilm School while I was researching film schools. The course outline seemed to fit my needs of a one–year degree without having to stay away for a long time from what I had built as a professional back in Mumbai.”
“Initially, it was a bit difficult for me to adjust to life in Germany, as it was the first time I had travelled out of India, but slowly I got used to the life here and since then each day is a new experience for me. Berlin has an artistic vibe, so sooner or later you do fall in love with this city.”
“At the moment I am working on my graduation film which is on a topic close to my heart. I am in the middle of research and development for it. I want to convert it into a full–fledged feature film or a web series which I am hoping to pitch to digital platforms. Although the topic might be personal, it has a universal theme to it which might appeal to a larger audience. I want to make films and be associated with it as an art form in whatever capacity I can.”
Advice for aspiring filmmakers
“My advice to anyone thinking about studying film and considering a career in this field is to be patient and have faith in yourself and in others. Surround yourself with creative and like-minded people, be loyal and faithful to them, because in order to make films you need a strong crew who can help you achieve your crazy visions. Keep yourself open to experiences and learn to trust your instincts. Lastly, enjoy the process of creating. ”
Mohd Shabaz is currently studying MetFilm School Berlin’s MA Directing course. Find out more.