Indian student’s lockdown film is winning awards and international recognition

An Indian student, studying at Berlin MetFilm School, Mohd Shabaz is celebrating after his film Cold Meat won Best Student Microfilm at the IndieX Film Festival, Los Angeles, USA.

Shabaz, who is studying the MA Directing, made the film, Cold Meat with fellow students during lockdown and attributes much of his success to them and MetFilm School.

Mohd Shabaz is celebrating after his film Cold Meat won Best Student Microfilm at the IndieX Film Festival, Los Angeles, USA.

Cold Meat is a disturbing story of domestic violence in a single take that mixes with psychological and as well and physical horror. The film tells the story about a couple in the coronavirus lockdown.

Shabaz explained: “Cold Meat gets its name from a short story by Saadat Hassan Manto, whose work and life has inspired me. This film though comes from personal experiences and stories that I have seen in my close circle of friends and relatives.

“It talks about the horrors of domestic violence and, [hearing] the news about the increase in domestic violence 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 and it was really challenging but Abhishek pulled it off with such an 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, despite the lockdown.”

Originally from Lucknow, in North India. Shabaz moved to Delhi, Sharda University to complete a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, he graduated in 2014 and moved to Mumbai.

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 in various roles for TV channels including MTV, History TV and TimesNow Group and corporate advertising for big name brands.

Shabaz said: “Growing up, I watched films but I never realised I could study film as an 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.

“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.”

Shabaz 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.

He said: “I happened to come across MetFilm School in Berlin 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.”

So far, Cold Meat has won Best Student Microfilm at IndieX Film Fest, LA and Outstanding Achievement in Student Short at Indie Short Fest, LA. It has also won Outstanding Achievement in Student Director and Best Producer the Indie Short Fest. The film is also competing in other international festivals including STIFF, Cannes Short Film Festival and Berlin Student Film Festival.