What’s the most rewarding factor of founding something and seeing it grow up?
Applebox Films has reached its first decade. Ten turbulent years into the creative industry produces heaps- a hallmark show-reel, boundless reminiscent and the unparalleled humans that grew around. Standing at the cross junction of time and looking back into these ten eventful years, the prominent keepsake of Applebox is the heritage of legacy, innovation and culture. Applebox has always been associated with the notion of legacy. I started the company with a seemingly minuscule yet profoundly fathomless effort. The production house briskly treaded into indie style; even in the overly constrained periphery of television commercials. An embodiment of the vision of down to earth approach for cinematic story-telling, sensitive handling and interplay of emotions, our films tend to target not only human eyes but also their souls.

The nucleus of Applebox Films, Piplu R khan.

Having said that, the most exciting characteristic of Applebox is our work culture. It is flamboyant which we always keep a low profile about. It is the place where I have met some of the most amazing people in my life. Here, we interact with each other; we talk about everything from movies to life and from there, things happen. In a decade, we have amassed a fantastic workforce. It is a small team, but they have the capability and versatility to do astonishing things anywhere in the world. This amazing work culture is the result of the foresight that we needed to invest in our staffing. The landscape where we work is continually evolving, that prompted us to become more flexible. Change is one constant parameter in the production industry; being responsive to them helped to us reach where we are at the moment.

Coming back to the story of how it started. What does the name Applebox signify?
Apple box is an element we use in production, a tiny box made out of wood. Though it might appear trivial, it plays a very crucial role in the process. It is the personification of being humble while being essential. Concurrently, when we decided to start our new company, we wanted to express ourselves with the same mantra. We are not very loud about our existence; it is a reflection of the essence of what our name entails.

Rumination of 10 long years

You mentioned that you have an amazing team; how do you pick people for your team?
It is not a run-of-the-mill production house; it is a melting pot where young and brilliant people come in to stew in the art of filmmaking driven by utmost passion. Applebox has been swarmed with brilliance over the years, picking up talented pieces from all over this delta. Our selection criteria are very diverse. For example, during a visit to the theatre or any other workplace, if I meet someone interesting, I might end up recruiting that person. We also have an extended internship programme, where we recruit up to ten individuals for three months without any interview. Within this period, we evaluate and identify the individuals we want to go ahead with. After that, we start spending time and resources on them for an extended period; usually within this period, an employee adjusts to our vision. It is the strategy we have been using for a long time, and it is working as of now; it might change in future depending on the reliability of the process.

Can we expect to see something big coming from Applebox in 2020?
I believe we will become bolder and more vibrant with our latest extensions namely SHIFT and Chashingara. While SHIFT acts with an aim to shape up young minds for critical thinking who are willing to join the creative industry in future; Chashingara is an idea-hub of content and conversation. Applebox Films is a space with the sentiment of a refined aesthetic with a modern sophistication that pays tribute to the luminary intellectuals. Let’s me elaborate the vision for having extended to those arms. In a world where creativity is key; the struggle of striving with only the competence of a creative mind is discernible. Applebox Films intends to create more, create passionately and create honestly. The first key to mould and generate notable content in this geographical dimension is to co-exist, and this co-existence has to happen between the creative minds. At the edge of its 10 years, the company wants to establish this notion. Since culture and creativity has an increasing influence on both sustainability and resilient growth in the mindset of an entire nation, everyone belonging in the creative zone feels a stark need to find new areas of development that encourage innovation and development. The fundamental element for us is immense honesty in communication and creation, uplifting the artistic souls, gratifying our rooted visions.

Inside the rehearsal of ‘Amra Jouboner e Dut’ by the mesmerising bunch of Applebox Films.

This office where are standing right now is beautiful. Was it your idea to give it such a cosy, vintage look?
Since a lot of millennial work here, I wanted to appeal to their mindset. I wanted this office to become a place where they would enjoy spending time in. You might have noticed there are a few bunk beds here; this is to allow our employees to take a quick nap when there is a free time-slot. This place has a very homely feel to it instead of being a cut-throat workstation. There are no strict regulations; you come to work, talk to your colleagues while finishing your work. Applebox makes sure that the only constant factor in this ever-changing company should be to nurture souls here, and in that deliberate process, pioneering mindboggling ideas.

You have passed one decade with incredible success. how are you planning for the next decade?
We will try to express ourselves in a more significant way. I have already made a documentary, which was my first long format, and I am keen to work on more. My colleague, Raka, who is a fantastic director, will also do something new. Besides advertisements, we will also try to do some indie work for some clients and festivals. We will also try to connect with some talent-pool to finance and produce their stories.

Looking back at all these years of ‘Light! Camera! Action!’, Applebox Films is merely anything but the collective identity of all its people.

Throughout the next decade, artificial intelligence and machine learning will become very big; do you think that is going to affect the production industry?
I don’t think it is a wise idea to speculate the negative things (laugh) and spend time forecasting the fear; rather, we should concentrate on getting the basics right. I believe, in our line of work,story-telling is the key, as long as human civilisation exists, it(story-telling) will be relevant. If you are good at it, you will continue to flourish in the industry. Technology will keep evolving, but it will be the vehicle to express yourself. It is more important to be flexible and possess the mindset to adopt.

Last question: what are you reading currently?
I read a lot; most of them are about history. I have a keen interest in pre-liberation history, how intellectuals of that era led the push for independence. Currently, I am doing some research on Prof. Abdur Razzaq, keeping some projects in mind. The idea behind Applebox Films and the internal environment here was designed based on the inspiration of Prof. Abdur Razzaq’s informal way of education at his Fuller Road home in mind.