The Letter to Cannes

A couple of months back, when staying at home was restricted to couch potatoes, I applied to ‘3 days at Cannes’ program. The biggest film festival in the universe – provided aliens haven’t discovered the magic called cinema – allowed commoners to experience the exhilaration for 3 days, and I couldn’t refrain myself from giving it a try. I mean, what kind of cinephile would I be without taking a shot at writing a cover letter, that would reward a lifetime experience. I’m letting the letter hang here as an act of brag.

*****

To Whom It May Concern

I’ve always viewed writing cover letters as an exercise of self-selling. Obviously, why would anyone advocate the second person, unless they see the benefit in doing so? To make sure I stand apart from my competition, it boils down to the point where I ‘sell’ myself in disguise of ‘motivation’! 

My father continually moved from one place to another. He kept going to places, literally and figuratively, and being a nuclear Indian family we are, not staying together was never a question; even the idea of having me and mother stay at a place while my father worked elsewhere, was non-existent. As a result, I studied in 9 schools, and the side effect, we’d move away before the relationship I had with children of my metamorphosed into this notion called ‘friendship’. I never felt desolate, though. I always had my ‘movies’ keeping me company. Watching a movie in a theatre was – and still is – the most exciting ‘event’ that I looked forward to. Post the event, cherishing the memory of the time spent in the theatre was equally delightful as I waited for the next time I’d sit in a dingy auditorium losing the track of time, reality, world, and myself.

What began as a love affair that bolstered to ‘escape’ the world, soon sprouted into the fascination with the art form. An email I received on July 16th, 2019, altered my life. I got accepted to be a part of the Young Critics Lab by Mumbai International Film Festival. Mentored by Baradwaj Rangan, the greatest Indian film critic, that’s when my writing journey started taking baby steps. The workshop, in the first place, taught me how to watch a film and dissect it shot by shot. As part of the Young Critic Jury, the 6 days I spent discovering Cinema from diverse cultural backgrounds was a wake-up call to explore gems I had overlooked my entire life. Ever since, writing was a catharsis. A release of feelings and emotions channeled through words. Here are some of my writings if you wish to read.

  1. Brotherhood
  2. I Lost My Body
  3. Soni – Video Essay
  4. Port Authority
  5. Haider

For a 22-year-old person coping up with career, choices, and life, the experience paved a direction, and attending Cannes is sure to be a life-affirmative experience like MAMI 19, but only exponentially more impactful considering the diversity the festival is associated with.

I’m not the best. There are a lot of talented and deserving individuals, but my competition is not with them. I aspire to be the best version of myself. Upgrading my skills and upping my game is all I aspire to, and Cannes is sure to help me with that.

All in all, writing this cover letter took on a ride of memories, and I wish writing this letter by itself would be a memory to cherish soon.

Cheers!

Ram Venkat Srikar

*****

A fortnight later – when the world was in the process of realizing its fragility – this dropped in my inbox.

I wasn’t hysteric this time around. There was no reason to be disappointed. Getting acceptance – the external validation that I was worthy enough – suffused me with happiness. Looking back at this, the craving for outward acceptance is sadder than missing the opportunity to attend Cannes, an opportunity that would have in turn bestowed more opportunities, speaking hypothetically.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this personal essay. Your acceptance to Cannes, and then not being able to go, created such mixed emotions in me. I was thrilled you were accepted (and why wouldn’t you be?), but sad to realize it was not to be. However, I’m glad you take joy in the fact they invited you to go, because that is a significant accomplishment. Congrats!

    Like

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