Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Query from London, Indian documentary online

Fathima Nizaruddin wrote
I am Fathima and currently I am doing a postgraduate course in Documentary in London. I was planning to work on Indian documentaries, but it is very difficult to get access to Indian documentaries here. While sifting through internet, I came across your blog which was very helpful. Could you please tell me if I can watch Indian documentaries online?I went to Vikalp but, there was some access problems. Unesco media platform also had some films. I am looking for films of Amar Kanwar and also for the documentary 'Eyes of Stone'
And here's what I commented:
Copying your mail to the Docuwallahs2 network, which I would invite you to join. It's at [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/docuwallahs2] I do not think most documentary films are shared online, mainly because either bandwidth is still costly to access here or because documentary film-makers are still grappling with questions of how they could build a revenue model for their work. My blog unfortunately hasn't been updated regularly, and I would have been happy if it could have been converted into a group-blog on documentary film. It is possible to get in touch with documentary film-makers and buy fairly-priced copies of their work. But you're right -- maybe there is the need for a centralised database, that tells us (i) who has created what film (ii) where it is available (iii) on what terms.
This is Stalin's reply:
Glad to know that you are researching Indian documentaries. I am sure a lot of filmmakers will write back on this list with details of the films they have made. This list carries announcements of film screenings, festivals etc and that will be a good way for you to know about new films and also to get in touch with them. I suggest you subscribe to this e-group. If you are looking for specific films or films by specific film makers, your search will be far easier. You may contact Amar Kanwar at amarkanwar@gmail.com. Some of the other groups and people you can contact for info on Indian docus: Delhi Film Archive [DFA] Magic Lantern Foundation, New Delhi Pedestrian Pictures, Bangalore Amudhan R.P., Madurai Third Eye, Thrissur, C Saratchandran: sarat.thirdeye@gmail.com I am pasting below brief synopsis of three of the 14 odd films I have made. Let me know if any of these interest you. All the best. In harmony, Stalin K. www.videovolunteers.org ----------- INDIA UNTOUCHED- Stories of a People Apart 108 minutes. 2007. Hindi, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalm with English sub-titles “India Untouched” will make it impossible for anyone in India to deny that Untouchability is still practiced today. The film is perhaps the most comprehensive look at caste oppression ever undertaken on film. Director Stalin K. spent four years traveling the length and breadth of the country to bear witness to the continued exclusion of Dalits, who bear the weight of a 4000 year-old religious system. From the campus of JNU, to medieval villages just outside our metropolises, this film exposes Untouchability in eight states and across four religions. The film’s canvas is stretches from Manu to matrimonial columns. In an age where the media projects only one image of a Rising India and urges the public to dismantle the reservation system, this film reminds us how far we are from being an equal society. Awards: Silver Dhow, Zanzibar International Film Festival, July 2008 Golden Conch, Best Documentary, Mumbai International Film Festival, February 2008 Best Film of the Festival, Mumbai International Film Festival, February 2008 Best Documentary, Mahindra IAAC Film Festival, New York, November 2007 Best Film, One Billion Eyes Film Festival, Chennai, India, August 2007 Gujarat-A Work In Progress 35 minutes. English. 2002 Since the 5th day of the genocidal carnage in Gujarat we have extensively documented hundreds of witness account of the attack in Ahmedabad. This film is a work in progress and was put together to be presented to the National Human Rights Commission as a video report when it first visited the state to enquire into the carnage on 20th March 2002. The film exposes the modus operandi of the attack Lesser Humans 59 minutes. Gujarati with English. 1998 50 years of Independence have not changed the lives of the Bhangis in Gujarat, who even today continue the profession prescribed to them by the caste system -- manually disposing human excreta. This film investigates the factors responsible for the continuance of this often banned inhuman practice. · Excellence Award, Earth Vision Film Festival, Tokyo, 1999 · Best Film, New Delhi Video Festival, 1999 · Silver Conch, 5th Mumbai International Film Festival, 1998 · Special Mention, Amnesty International Film Festival, Amsterdam, 1998

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Very British Bollywood... a documentary

This is from http://www.goanvoice.org.uk: Documentary: A Very British Bollywood: 2 Mar: 9:00 – 10:00 pm. BBC 2. Documentary looking at how the Indian movie industry has begun to make films in the UK and a look at the making of Private Moments, an erotic comedy that revolves around the sex lives of four young women in London.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A reminder from Puri...

A great idea. Festival with *your* own films...

Bring Your Own Film Festival <byoffpuri@gmail.com> writes in to say:

The countdown has begun. BYOFF-3 is just a few days away. Remember the dates? 21st to 25th of February on the beaches of Puri. A HUGE thanks to all of you for the overwhelming response that we have received this year. Submissions are still pouring in. We have been receiving queries whether we have closed our registration for films after the 31st of January as stated on the website. We would like to clarify that a last date was mentioned only to bring some amount of sanity into the whole organization of the festival. We would try our best to even accomodate a filmmaker arriving with his film on the eleventh hour, and that, dear friends, is the spirit of BYOFF. But alas, schedules have to be made, screenings have to be arranged and souvenirs have to go to the press on a given date - and so on and so on and so on... So those of you who think that it's now too late to send in your film, we would ask you to please register your film within 8th February. Please send details, synopsis and stills as we are going to the press with the souvenir on the 10th. of this month. Those of you who have alredy registered, thanks once again. Please let us know your travel plans. There was also a serious omission on our part on the registration form as there was no field for "Editor". Please send us the name/s of the Editor/s of your film/s in a mail with " Subject: Editor" by 8th February (if you would like to acknowledge his/her contribution!) . So folks, it's time almost to start packing your bags. >From all of us in THE BYOFF TEAM Cheers! and Bhadaas! Dho!!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

MIFF gets underway ... a report from Mumbai

This is by Ervell E Menezes, a senior writer on films.... MIFF: A curtain-raiser (by Ervell E Menezes) From: The Navhind Times, January 29, 2006
WITH D-DAY fast approaching, the Films Division offices at Peddar Road, Mumbai, are buzzing with activity. E-mails are being sent, phones rining and folks running helter-skelter. For, on February 3, MIFF06 or the Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films begins. It will last till February 9. The Festival, also known as the Documnentary Festival, takes place every alternate year. Beginning in 1990, this is its 9th year and it has been growing in popularity and stature with each passing year. Over 160 films have been entered in the competition sections (national and international) and cash prizes amounting to Rs 900,000 will be disbursed. It is a festival looked forward to by documentary film-makers who find it a key venue to showcase their art. It is MIFF that first introduced American phonetics professor and arguably the biggest critic of America, Noam Chomsky, to India. Marilyn Warring, a new Zealand MP, also had her film -- on the hours housewives worked without salary -- shown at MIFF. That was in the 1990s, but even in the millennium MIFF has been a platform for many political films on South American nations. Indian subjects too have got vast exposure, with Ranjan Palit's *Baliapal* winning the Golden Conch in the inaugural year. Anand Patwardhan too won a few awards at MIFF. But, last year, MIFF ran into trouble because of alleged censorship. This in fact gave birth to Vikalp, or a parallel festival with Vikalp demanding that Clause 8 be removed from the rules. The clause states, "Selection of films/videos for competition will be made by a committee whose decision will be final. However, Festival authorities reserve the right to accept or not to accept any film, if it is likely to offend the feelings and sensibilities of any country and/or promote racism or any other reason the Festival authority consider to be sufficient for acceptance or non-acceptance of a film/video." The Festival authorities have, this year, assured the documentary filmmakers that the clause would not be put into practice, but they would not delete the clause. They also inducted Vikalp members in the selection panel, and everything went on smoothly. Only filmmaker Sabe Dewan has withdrawn her film on bar girls, "Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi" on that count after she decided to enter it. There is a wide range of subjects, both national and international, and it would be impossible to go into most of them. We shall, however, just touch the tip of the iceberg. AFSPA 1958, Continuous Journey, Holy Men and Fools, Idealist James Beveridge, Film Guru and Between Midnight and Rooster Crow are recommended in the international section, while Waiting, Riding Solo to the Top of the World, Here is My Nocturne, Midshot -- an Experiment with Truth, Village Football and (In)visible City are must-sees on the national front. There are two films named Waiting, but we refer to the documentary on Kashmir. The international jury will be headed by British-based African film-maker John Akomfrah with Lasse Naukkarinen (Finland), Sato Makoto (Japan), Lisa Goldman (US) and Nirad Mohapatra (India) in it. Sumitra Peries (Sri Lanka) will head the national jury which will comprise Manjira Dutta, Gautam Bora, Kireet Khurana and K Hariharan (all India). There will also be retrospectives of jury members Lasse Naukkarinen, John Akomfrah, Sato Makoto and Lisa Goldman. There is also an excellent package of Australian documentary films with a special emphasis on aborigines made by indigenous film-makers. Probably for the first time we shall be exposed to Iranian films from "Iranian Independents". We are already aware of Iran's brilliance in the feature film realm. MIFF also pays homage to J S Bhownagary, N S Thapa, Vijay B Chandra (all India) and Margaret Tail (UK). Chandra was the first director of MIFF. Short films of the legendary comedian Buster Keaton will also be screened. So there is an infinite variety of films that is bound to satiate the palate of the documentary film buffs and many roads (from Mumbai and the rest of India) should lead to the Ravi Natya Mandir in Prabhadevi, the venue of MIFF06. Enjoy...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Can you help us locate...

Those on the Docuwallahs2 mailing list [1] would be rather used to seeing messages from the Delhi-based Kriti group asking "can you help us to locate... " with one film-maker's name or the other listed in the mail. Well, Kriti [2], which calls itself "a development research, praxis and communication team" takes its documentary film seriously indeed. And this is more than clear from their 2006 version of 'Our Diary', a well-crafted companion for the year ahead.

Kriti sent me a copy, with a pleasant note that read: "dear fn, in the spirit of sharing resources this is with our compliments for you. regards & best wishes for 2006. davinder kaur & aanchal kapur, kriti team." So I guess my views of the diary would be somewhat influenced by this thoughtful gift. Anyway....

Besides space for a daily entry (there's limited space on Sundays, and I work more on the Sabbath!) there's a nice listing called "my space" at the start of the directory. It offers you space for all your personal details, so much so that I had to search around and still haven't been able to fill in all the details about contacts that ought to matter in my life ;-)

'Our Diary 2006' is in its seventh year, we're told and it has been "journeying across villages, towns and cities of India and other countries of the world".

"This is a documentary journey on issues of rights, on the access to and control over power, resources and lives... a journey that we hope will inspire many more films that reflect the politics, the ideology and the contradictions that make 'struggles for rights' an inevitable part of our ground reality," says Kriti.

This is a bi-lingual, English-and-Hindi dairy, with a lot of 'dates to remember', and some very interesting description of documentary film in India.

Each month-end or two brings you a focus on one or more film, and issue. For instance, the anti-arrack (liquor) struggle in Andhra Pradesh, resistance poetry, people's struggles against destructive 'development' (bauxite mining in Orissa, the commercial harbour at Umbergaon in Gujarat, the steel plant in Chhattisgarh, the World Bank Forestry Project in MP, the Koel-Karo hydel power project in Jharkhand and more...)

This diary also focuses on the student movement ("Ek Minute Ka Maun"), the World Social Forum ("Work In Progress"), the nuclear craze and more. There's also a listing of the issues featured in earlier diaries.

At the end of the spiral-bound book, there's a listing of documentary films referred to (with full and elaborate credits), and links to print material, "listserves" (docuwallahs2@yahoogroups.com, cacd@yahoogroups.com, pedepics@yahoogroups.com, indiefilmmakerz@yahoogroups.com) as also websites such as freedomfilms.org, humanrightsinitiative,org, humanscape.org, infochangeindia.org, oneworld.org and asians-against-nukes.org

One of the more useful compilations here is a detailed listing (with addresses, websites and email contacts) of movements, groups and resource centres across India. This spans two pages, we really could do with more of this.

All in all, an interesting effort. Having seen the copy, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one of my own ;-) --FN, Jan 4, 2006.

[1] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/docuwallahs2 [2] http://www.krititeam.org or space@krititeam.org

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Film-making, in Bangalore

Rakesh 'arky' Ambati <rakesh_ambati at yahoo.com> of the Free Software networks says a three-day film making workshop titled 'Lecture Demonstration on Fundamentals of Film making' is starting tomorrow morning (Dec 28, 2005) at 9 am @ the Suchitra Film Society. He writes: "It has limited intake of 20 candidates and cost you Rs 1500. It involves the complete overview of film making and also has outdoor shot."

Rakesh says Victor Basu whom he met at the Gothe-Institut (Max Mueller Bhavan) told him that there are couple of seats available if you can reach the venue in the morning. Contact victorbasu at yahoo.com

Monday, December 26, 2005

Tricontinental comes to India again... Jan 2006

Ajay Bhardwaj sent in a detailed note about the Tri Continental Festival 2006. For more details, you could get in touch with Monica Mody/Alika Khosla. Some background:
Moving images speak to us as nothing else does. Films can enthrall and educate: the TRI Continental Film Festival demonstrates this. Successfully bringing to India the finest human rights cinema from the global south, for a second time, the festival has been organized by Breakthrough, a human rights organization that uses media, education and popular culture to promote values of dignity, equality and justice.
Some more details:
Popular Sufi rock singer Rabbi Shergill opens the three-day festival in Delhi on January 21, after which the festival travels to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata in the two weeks following. The 16 documentaries selected this year have won accolades all over the world. A jury of five – Amar Kanwar, Arjun Chandramohan Bali, Ira Bhaskar, Rituparno Ghosh and Shohini Ghosh -- will award one of these with the Jury Prize. Additionally, the non-competitive section showcases four outstanding features.
Dates and details: City/ Dates/ Venue New Delhi/ Jan 21 to 23/ India Habitat Centre New Delhi/ Jan 22 to 23/ Alliance Francaise Mumbai/ Jan 25 to 27/ NCPA Little Theatre Bangalore/ Jan 29 to 31/ Alliance Francaise Chennai/ Feb 1 to 2/ Film Chamber Theatre Kolkata/ Feb 3 to 5/ Nandan More details at this Breakthrough.tv site. Also, details of Ajay Bhardwaj's post archived here on the Docuwallahs2 mailing list.

Films selected, films rejected...

Vikalp list [1] is currently, as of December 26, 2005, discussing the films selected and those rejected by the MIFF, or Mumbai International Films Festival. This time's festival will be from Feb 3-9, 2006 at Mumbai.

One note from Vikalp comments: "Anjali and JayS, Shocking to hear about the exclusion of your film, especially coming on top of the Best film award at the 3 Continents filmfest... I remain as convinced as ever that we must have Vikalp screenings during MIFF 2006!"

See issues of censorship that came up here. [2] MIFF's site is here [3] Email contacts for MIFF are also available [4]

An official quote: "Films Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Govt. of India has been biennially organizing Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) for Documentary, Short and Animation Films, successfully since 1990." More on the festival here [5]

Take a look at the counterpoint emerging from FilmsForFreedom. [6]

[1] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vikalp/ [2] http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2116/stories/20040813002309000.htm [3] http://www.miffindia.org/ [4] miff2006@gmail.com, miff@mtnl.net.in, miff@vsnl.net, coordinatormiff@filmsdivision.org [5] http://www.narthaki.com/info/reviews/prev229.html [6] http://www.freedomfilmsindia.org/default.asp

Saturday, December 24, 2005

VIBGYOR, colours of the rainbow, in Kerala

Benny Benedict informs that the Chetana Media Institute is organizing the VIBGYOR Film Festival at Trichur, Kerala, from February 23-26, 2006, with a competition in the documentary and short fiction cateogires at the national level. The best documentary as well fiction will be awarded Rs. 25,000 each and a citation. Last date for registering films is January 5, 2006. Check here for the entry form in .doc format. And you'll get the PDF entry form here. And a quote: both fiction as well as documentaries sent for competition should be of less than an hour duration and produced between December 1, 2003 and November 30, 2005. for Fiction, there is no theme specification. Documentaries should be based on the theme women frames, i. e any documentary on women's issues, reality, identity, politics etc. The competition section is open only to filmmakers (both men and women) from India. Apart from the competition section, the organisers have a non-competitive section based on the theme identities and diversities. In addition, they have a "Focus of the Year 2006" section showcasing films on water. Writes Benny:
If you have a suitable film to enroll either in the competitive, non-competitive or focus of the year category, kindly send us a CD/DVD/VHS copy at the earliest, along with a synopsis.
Contact: 0091-487-2330830/2323590/9447000830 Or log on to www.vibgyorfilmfest.com. E-mail: info@vibgyorfilmfest.com Another quote: Chetana Media Institute, Trichur stands to create free and fearless expressions of the human spirit in life and art. Through media instruction, production and interaction, we facilitate effective intervention in favor of justice, peace and harmony. We have been involved in media training, production and dissemination by organizing Film Festivals and other media events at the regional and national level involving other organizations and groups. In the previous years we had conducted the Small Films in a Smaller World Festival and the Gargi Women Film Festival.

Where the twain shall meet by Arshia Sattar 'Kitte Mil Ve Mahi (Where the Twain Shall Meet' Punjabi

Where the twain shall meet

By Arshia Sattar

Kitte Mil Ve Mahi (Where the Twain Shall Meet) Punjabi with English subtitles, 72 mins, 2004 Directed and Produced by Ajay Bhardwaj Presented by India Foundation for the Arts

This is a film about the dalits of Punjab and their embrace of Sufi traditions Ajay Bhardwaj's new film brings into sharp focus and to public attention the little-known dalits of the Punjab and their embrace of Sufi traditions. He speaks with poets and musicians, mystics and revolutionaries, as he seeks to excavate this vibrant, living syncretism -- an attitude and a way of life that seems all but forgotten in a nation that has been torn from its secular moorings. The film also provides a provocative counterpoint to the globalised punjabiyat that is disseminated through Bollywood and the entertainment industry in general.

Since the explosion of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's enormous talent onto the world stage in the 1980s, Sufi music has taken hold of the public imagination in more ways than one. It has even become one of the cultural building blocks of the rapprochement between India and Pakistan. Bhardwaj goes behind the big stars and the high-profile concerts to unknown villages where the syncretistic devotional traditions of Sufi and Bhakti mingle, where divinity, shrines and saints are shared across lines of religion and caste.

Bhardwaj meets Gadri Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga, the last of the radical Gadar movement. The venerable old man, still engaged in local and national politics and proudly displaying a portrait of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, speaks about socialist heroes being co-opted by the Hindu Right. He believes that dalits will occupy their rightful place on the national stage, as a progressive consciousness is now visible among their youth. The poetry of Lal Singh Dil, a dalit convert to Islam, raises the same hopes, though his conversations about the systematic disenfranchisement of his people (whom he refers to as the local adivasis ), by a caste elite, is imbued with a sense of betrayal and injustice. This is another important aspect of the film -- that it provides a space for the subaltern histories of politics and religion in the region.

The film also takes us to the Paslewala qawwals, dalits, who, along with their caste brethren, have become the keepers of Sufi shrines and music in that part of the world. Bhardwaj's film points out that the mystical traditions of the subcontinent did not exclude women: they are poets and saints in their own right, either through birth and inheritance or by being appointed successors by their masters. Their shrines are equally dear to devotees who come to them for the comfort and solace they offer.

More than anything else, Where the Twain Shall Meet reminds the viewer that the Bhakti and Sufi movements were more than just religious reformations: they were social revolutions that asked questions, overturned hierarchies of gender and caste and preached a doctrine of equality. Some bhaktas were overtly political (like Basavanna in Karnataka), but all of them believed that the status quo had to be challenged and changed.

Bhardwaj gently seeks to establish parallels between the religious reformer and the social revolutionary in his film and succeeds in making the viewer think about this connection. In doing so, the film recalls Amar Kanwar's recent A Night of Prophecy (also reviewed here) and Anand Patwardhan's In Memory of Friends .

It remains the task of the documentary film to open our eyes, not simply to the struggles around us that are hidden from view, but also to those parts of our common heritage that are being suppressed and deliberately denied. Ajay Bhardwaj's film is a firm step in this direction.

For more information, contact: ajayunmukt@yahoo.com

InfoChange News and Features, June 2005

INFOCHANGEINDIA-REVIEW: Development flows from the barrel of a gun

The review below appeared on Infochangeindia.org .......................................................................

DEVELOPMENT FLOWS FROM THE BARREL OF A GUN

Directed by Biju Toppo and Meghnath Hindi with English subtitles, 58 mins

View Video Clip 998kb Download time 3 mins in 128kbps connectivity

This film presents and examines orchestrated state violence against indigenous and local peoples when they protest against development projects on their lands This film’s wonderfully evocative title sets the tone and the stage for the material that it covers. Quite simply, the film presents and examines orchestrated state violence against indigenous and local peoples when they rally and protest against development projects on their lands. Rather than focusing on a single instance, the filmmakers strengthen their thesis by recording examples from all over the country: Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh. In each case, using the local police force, the state has brutalised and killed protestors, often on trumped up charges of violence.

What makes the state’s reaction even more reprehensible is the fact that these protests are legitimate by virtue of the fact that the disputed projects are all located on lands that are ‘scheduled’, ie protected by the Constitution for indigenous peoples. Whether it be the aluminum corporation in Kashipur, Orissa, or the big dam of Koel Karo in Jharkhand, or the World Bank-funded forestry project in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, or the steel plant in Nagarnar, Chhattisgarh, or the new port in Umbergaon, Gujarat, the development projects in question have been located on lands collectively owned and inhabited by tribal peoples. At the first hint of organised protest, the police are sent in. They loot and ransack homes, steal food and livestock, beat up women, arrest men and use their lathis, guns and bullets freely, arguing always that they were attacked first.

Of all the cases the film records, the most well-known is the murder of Col Pratap Save who spearheaded the movement against the new port at Umbergaon. The reason this incident got national attention was precisely the fact that the police had used their state-sanctioned might against a former army officer, a man who had served the nation. Thousands of other atrocities go unrecorded outside local papers because the individuals killed are disenfranchised (and therefore, invisible and unimportant) tribal peoples.

This film is a documentary in the traditional sense as it records these events as objectively as possible. In a sense, there is no need to editorialise, since the ugly facts speak for themselves and the government is severely indicted by the evidence presented. The local officials interviewed sound so unconvincing that it is truly embarrassing.

The last sequence in the film focuses on a mini-hydel project in Putsil, Orissa, where no one has been displaced and the object of providing electricity has been achieved. Needless to say, this project was conceived, developed and executed locally. Fifty years later, we are still struggling to understand that big dams (and big development funded by international capital) are not the temples of modern India, lest they be temples dedicated to the goddess of destruction.

For more information, contact: AKHRA Shastri Nagar, Kanke Road Ranchi 834 008 Jharkhand

akhra@rediffmail.com

Friday, December 23, 2005

Second annual UN Documentary Film Festival

http://www.mediarights.org/news/2005/12/22/call_for_submissions_secong_annual_un_documentary_film_festival

There's a call for submissions for the Secong Annual UN Documentary Film Festival. It will take place on April 22-23, 2006 and will feature film screenings, panel discussions with the filmmakers, and award presentations. The films and their screening times will be listed on the above site on February 21, 2006.

Filmmakers from or contracted by United Nations offices, funds, programmes, and agencies around the world have been invited to submit entries for consideration. For the first time, the competition is also open to filmmakers from the general public, who may compete for Best Public Film (60 minutes and under) and the Audience Choice Award for Best Film.

Selected entries will be screened in the Tishman Auditorium, The New School, 66 West 12 Street, New York, NY 10011, and announced to the media. The filmmakers of the selected entries will be invited to attend or send a representative to the Festival. Details at: http://www.mcainy.org/common/news/info_detail.cfm?QID=2444&clientID=11040

Process for this festival starts on December 22, and goes on till Jan 20. Issues to be covered are: Criminal Justice, Economic Justice, Gender/Women, Health/Health Advocacy, Human Rights, Media.

Homepage: www.mcainy.org Contact: llopez@tellmedia.com

Formal distribution of independent documentary to schools, etc

Vipul Kulkarni vipulkulkarni.metaphor at gmail.com read of this blog via the CAC-Delhi network and introduced us to Metaphor Media -- www.metaphormedia.org This is "into formal distribution of independent documentaries to schools, colleges, universities, NGOs and research organisations". Vipul says they have a collecton of about 80 films as of now "and are adding to it on a continuous basis".

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Films on education! Fascinating....

Manish Jain -- shikshantar at yahoo.com -- recently informed that Shikshantar is putting together a two-day film festival called "Re-membering Nai Taleem – Real Learning for the 21st Century". As the title indicates, the festival will feature films which inspire new directions for "deepening our imagination about learning societies". The festival will be screened at B.Ed colleges, NGOs, teacher training programmes, educational institutes, etc. around India and Pakistan. Organisers are looking for films which explore natural learning, deschooling, community learning, self-directed learning, alternative education, democratic education, creativity, local knowledge systems, human cognition, consciousness, unlearning, uplearning.... Jain writes: "
We would greatly appreciate it if you could share any films that you have made or suggest some appropriate films that you have come across. If you are interested in participating in or hosting the film festival in your community, please let us know by January 15, 2006.
" Contact details: Manish, Shikshantar: The Peoples' Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, 21 Fatehpura, Udaipur, Rajasthan, INDIA Tel:91-294-245-1303 Fax:91-294-245-1949 www.swaraj.org/shikshantar Films on education! Fascinating...

Films on people's movements

Soumitra Dastidar <soumitra_dastidar at rediffmail.com> is a documentary film-maker from Kolkata (the city formerly known as Calcutta) and has been making films on people's movements since 1999. Soumitra's documentaries include GENOCIDE AND AFTER and OUR DAYS WITH MAOIST GUERILLAS.

Godhra Tak... a hard-hitting film

Shubhradeep Chakravorty, a New Delhi-based documentary filmmaker, recently sent in his self-intro to the Docuwallahs2 [1] mailing list: An independent film-maker, he has been behind 'Godhra Tak: The Terror Trail'. Says Shubhradeep, It is an investigative documentation of the Godhra train-burning incident and the only of its kind. Basically, I am a journalist, but now full-time into documentary film-making. I am looking to make friends in (what for me is a) new profession". Contacts: Shubhradeep Chakravorty, New Stream Media, 161, Kamal Vihar Apartments, Plot number 5, Sector 7, Dwarika, New Delhi 110075, India. Tel-91-11-20530323, 91-11-25086613 shubhradeep at rediffmail.com, or godhratak at yahoo.com

[1] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/docuwallahs2

Jeevika 2006, in Delhi in January

Something that might be of interest. It came up on the Docuwallahs list:

The Centre for Civil Society (K-36 Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi 110016 / Website: www.ccsindia.org) is organizing Jeevika 2005, the annual South Asian Livelihood Documentary Festival from 20-28 January 2006, in New Delhi. This competitive festival is the first of its kind in South Asia.

Jeevika is a search of documentaries that focus on legal and regulatory restrictions, bureaucratic processes as well as social and cultural norms and religious practices that prevent or constrain people from earning an honest living in the vocation of their choice.

The response to request for entries for Jeevika 2005 has been overwhelming. As against 60 entries last year, this year saw over 85 entries from students and professional film makers from various countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Serbia. 34 of these entries are student productions.

The Screening Committee short-listed 11 films in student and 10 in general category. The Jury selected the top three winners and the Best Student Film of these 21 films.

First Prize: One Show Less by Nayantara. C. Kotian (Student Film, Institute: NID-Ahmedabad) Second Prize: Fight for Survival by Dakxin Nandlal Bajarange, (Ahmedabad) Third Prize: Treacling Down by Upali Gamlath (Sri Lanka) Best Student Film: Aamchi Kasauti by Rrivu Laha (FTII, Pune) Special Jury Mention: Pretty Dyana by Boris Mitic (Serbia)

SCREENING COMMITTEE - Mohit Satyanand (Entreprenuer and film curator) Raza Haider (Filmmaker and working with SIKSHA) Pawan Preet Kaur, (Alumni, Madhubala Institute, Delhi) Anugyan Nag (MA Cinema student, Asian Academy of Film & Television Jury) Utsav Mukhopadhay (Alumni, Jadavpur University, Kolkata)

JURY - LS Tochhawng (India International Centre, Delhi) Gargi Sen (Magic Lantern Foundation, Delhi) Joy Singhal (Aga Khan Foundation, Delhi) Sutapa Deb (NDTV, Delhi) Biplab Golam (Director, International Film Festival, Dhaka)

Films, censorship and documentary...

Vijaya Mulay <vijaya.mulay at gmail.com> shared this letter on the issue of films and censorship, taken up by the Indian Documentary Producers Association. Vijaya writes to say that she has been president of IDPA.

Vijaya writes: "It ad some effect and the censorship for MIFF has been curtailed. Recently I met the Joint Secretary concerned again and asked him that if the Governement has agreed to what IDPA has suggested why has a notification to that effect been issued? He told me that after the new minister has seen the file it would be issued...."

14 September 2005 Dear Filmmaker,

Given the success of "Expressions in Freedom" 2005, the IAWRT in partnership with IIC Asia Project will hold the next festival of films by Asian women film makers in March 2006. Titled " Women, Media and Society: Transformations" it will be a two day event, to mark the International Women's Day (March 8th to 9th 2006).

The aim of the festival is to open up a cultural space for debates on creative processes enriched by women's quest for documenting their experiences.

Recognizing the critical need for forums that sustain the form of documentary as well as women's contribution to this unique form, the festival will show the best of documentaries created by women, covering a whole range of genres and expressive styles. It will present films that explore the experiences of women through transformations, be they political, social, cultural, environmental, educational or economic in nature in today's globalised world. How are women film makers negotiating, exploring, resisting or documenting these transformations? How are they creating a new language of debate on these issues? How are women widening the frame for issues concerning women? These can be some of the central questions in the festival coupled with panel discussions and/or a seminar.

IIC Asia-project and IAWRT will also use this forum to curate a special session dedicated to Short Films across genres of animation, fiction and documentary film, an area in which women have started staking a claim.

We are also exploring the possibility of travelling the show in major cities in India and Asia.

The IAWRT is a non–profit professional organization of women working in electronic and allied media. The IAWRT is a non-government organization (NGO), in consultative status with United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). IAWRT collaborates with media organizations and organizes conferences, projects and activities.

We take this opportunity to invite you to send your film by 10th Dec. 2005. The forms for the festival are attached. For more information contact: Deepti : email: cfarasam at ndf.vsnl.net.in Copy to: fict at fict.com (Kind Attn. Ms. Jai Chandiram)

Warm regards, Jai Chandiram President IAWRT jaichandiram@yahoo.co.in 9811277004

President: Jai Chandiram, India. Secretary Gunilla Ivarsson Sweden, Treasurer: Oona Solberg, Norway.

In Bhubaneswar, a film archive...

AMAR KANWAR in New Delhi reminds us about the formation of a Bhubaneswar film archive. Amar writes:
You will be happy to know that the Bhubaneswar Film Archive (otherwise known as Lok Chitra Kendra) has been launched since April 2005. This could be made possible because of the support we received for the purpose from Zindabad Trust, the initiative for which came from the Delhi Film Archive. The Lok Chitra Kendra (Bhubaneswar Film Archive) is managed by voluntary contributions by members and has been created to work as a documentation and information dissemination center to highlight issues affecting the life, livelihood, art and culture of ordinary people. Screening films and organizing mobile screening programmes are among the activities the Archive would undertake. Lok Chitra Kendra may take up any other activity if it is urgent and essential from people's point of view. We have a small library of films but urgently need more films. We appeal to film makers to contribute their films and other information /documents related to films. ANNOUNCING 2nd LOK CHITRA UTSAV/PEOPLES FILM FESTIVAL Jan 20 - 21 - 22 , 2006 In 2004 we had organized the 1 st Lok Chitra Utsav/People's Film Festival in Bhubaneshwar . Now we would like to announce that the 2nd Lok Chitra Utsav/People's Film Festival will take place on the 20th 21st and 22nd of January 2006 at the Regional Science Center Auditorium, Acharya Vihar, Bhubaneswar, Orissa . Detail of the programme will be sent soon. Contact address for contributions/ information HIG-54 (GF) Phase-7, Sailashree Vihar Bhubaneswar-751021 Contact persons: Sudhir Pattnaik ( 9437019395) R.K. Sarangi ( 9337112265) EMAIL: ind_media at rediffmail.com and lokchitrautsav at rediffmail.com
Amar can be contacted via email amarvg at vsnl.com or amarkanwar at gmail.com

Dress codes... audio documentary

Pukar (see contact details below) described this audio documentary recently. Sounds fascinating...

Then They Came For My Jeans…

The audio documentary raises questions about the dress codes being imposed on college students in various universities. The documentary is located in the broader context of the PUKAR Gender & Space project which seeks to explore the ways by which women experience public spaces, accessing them against all odds, transforming the nature of urban life in the process.

A 12 minute audio documentary Produced by: Studio PUKAR Executive Producers: Sameera Khan & Shilpa Phadke Sound Recordist & Editor: Anita Kushwaha Creative Consultant: Shilpa Gupta Documentation: Shriti K Cover Design: Shilpa Ranade Thanks to BMM Dept., SIES College for Recording Assistance Funded by: Indo-Dutch Programme on Alternative Development

Date: Tuesday, 20 December 2005 Time: 6.30 pm Venue: PUKAR Office Address: 2nd Floor, Kamanwala Chambers, Opposite Strand Book Stall, Sir. P M Road, Fort, Mumbai 400001. Tel: 5574-8152

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Link from Canada...: water and film

Kolkata-based Jesuit Gaston Roberge gaston.roberge at gmail.com sent me this note, with a cc to Brian McDonough bmcdonough at diocesemontreal.org:

Something else. My friend Brian McDonough of Montreal, deep in the snow, has sent me the information about the First International "Water and Film" event. You probably know about it. Still I am giving you the URL in the English version. Although it may be too late to participate, it's high time we knew about it. And I like Jean Renoir's remark, that the first Lumière film was about water: "l'arroseur arrosé" the watering man watered. Gaston URL: http://www.i-s-w.org/en/PDFaout05/cinema_an.oct_05.pdf

Monday, December 12, 2005

Vatavaran 2005: award winners

This list came in a bit late... and my travel (to Bangalore) delayed it further. Dipti Kulkarni of the Vatavaran Film Festival Directorate at the Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi writes: "Following is a list of the Vatavaran 2005 Award Winners. Centre for Media Studies and the Vatavaran Film Festival Directorate would like to thank all its supporters for their encouragement and support. Spread over four days the festival, besides film screenings also held several seminars and workshops. A new addition was the film bazaar and the concept really picked up, so filmmakers could definitely consider this channel for the distribution of their films. An environment film festival exclusivesly for children is also planned for early next year. Vatavaran plans to take the festival to many cities in 2006, so if you are interested in hosting the festival in your locality do get in touch with us."
Vatavaran 2005: Award Winners Award, Category, Film, Director, Producer
Best of the Festival, Wildlife Natural History: Indian Leopards - The Killing Fields, Praveen Singh, Praveen Singh Best Film,2005 Festival Theme: Forest for Life, Invocations to the Mountain Goddess, Christopher Rego, Christopher Rego Star Award Best Film, 2005 Festival Theme: Forest for Life, Vikas Bandook Ki Naal Se,Biju Toppo/Meghnath, Meghnath (Akhra) Special Mention of the Jury, 2005 Festival Theme: Forest for Life, Leopards of Bollywood, Animitra Chakravarti, Niret Alva and Nikhil J Alva Best Film, Wildlife Conservation, The Last Flight, Nutan Manmohan, Nutan Manmohan Best Film, Wildlife Conservation, The Policing Langur, Ajay and Vijay Bedi, PSBT Best Film, Environment, River Taming Mantras, Sanjay Barnela and Vasant Saberwal, Moving Images Chief Ministers Award for Best Film, Environment, A Second Hand Life, Nutan Manmohan, PSBT Best PSM, Public Service Message Spot, Do Your Bit, Anand Thakur, Ogilvy & Mathur Advertising Ltd. Special Mention of the Jury, Public Service Message Spot, Shadows, Vishal Furia, Kartikeya Talreja (Digital Academy) Best Animation, Animation, Irony, R Sathya Narayanan, Ramanujam Foundation Special Mention of the Jury, Animation, Cute Bunny, Dhimant Vyas, P Jayakumar Special Mention of the Jury, Animation, CNG, Debanjan Nandy, Debanjan Nandy Special Mention of the Jury, Animation, Why Not? Anitha Balachandran, Environmental Protection Special Mention of the Jury, Animation, A Hunter's Tale, Abhishek Singh, NID Best Film, Student Film, Fistful of Steel, Leena, Nidhi, Sabir, A J K, MCRC, Jamia Milia Islamia Special Mention of the Jury, Student Film, Once Upon A Time, Pawanpreet Kaur, Madhubala Institute of Communication and Media Special Mention of the Jury, Student Film, Punarjanikkal, Ambika, C-DIT

Free software... and film

V. Sasi Kumar <sasi.fsf at gmail.com> informs the FSF-Friends (Free Software Foundation India list) that the International Film Festival of Kerala is scheduled from December 9 to 16, 2005.

Says Sasi: "Films will be screened at various venues at Thiruvananthapuram. The Kerala State Chalachitra Academy has agreed to provide space for displaying Free Software, with emphasis on those related to the visual media, and some posters. We are planning to do this in co-operation with SPACE [Society for Promoting of Alternatives in Computing and Education]. We also plan to distribute handouts on FSF and SPACE, and also some literature related to Freedom/Free Software. We are getting some CDs ready that could be sold at a nominal price."

Sasi points out that it "would be nice" if someone with some working knowledge of some of the applications like Blender, Cinelerra, Ktoon, etc. comes forward. Free Software already has some great tools out there.

SNAPSHOT-INDIA: The Story of Virgin Iron (Bappa Ray, 29 minutes)

SNAPSHOT: The Story of Virgin Iron English/29 minutes/video/colour IFFI 2005 ---

It was an ancestor of the Agaria, who with a single stroke of his hammer, discovered the metal iron and ushered in the Iron Age. A documentary film on traditional knowledge of the Agaria in the process of making iron, right from the time they choose the rocks from which to extract the ore from the surrounding hills, up to the time the molten slag is poured out. The film covers the entire cycle of discovery of iron and the process of obtaining it ...in an absorbing manner.

Producer: Bappa Ray Director: Bappa Ray Camera: Pabitra Pariha Editor: Shaheed Ahmed

Bappa Ray has directed to series of documentary films earlier, the 'Monsoon Yatra', which chases the Indian monsoon and looks at its impact on agriculture, and 'Mirror for Man', which focuses on the livelihood patterns of tribal communities.

He is also an ethnographic film-maker, who has worked among several Indian tribal communities over the past 25 years. He has also directed two feature films -- including Ek thi Goonja.

Some of his prominent films are 'Morung -- Silent Witness of the Brave Wancho', 'Pashmina Royale', 'Ladakh -- Life along the Indus', and 'Wangala -- A Garo Festival'. He is currently working on Legend of the Lepchas: Their Homeland the Mighty Kanchenjunga and Mun-Women priestess of the Lepchas. [Source IFFI 2005, Indian Panorama]

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Film festival, VIBGYOR in Kerala

Benedict Varghese Chiramel <bennyb0107@gmail.com> has written in from Trichur, Kerala, saying their Chetana Media Institute, is organizing the VIBGYOR Short & Documentary Film Festival at Trichur from February 23-26, 2006. He writes: "We have included a competition section also."

More details at www.vibgyorfilmfest.com

The Festival sections include competition, non-competitive, retrospective and focus of the year. The competition is open to short fiction and documentaries produced in India, between December 1, 2003 and November 30, 2005. The theme for documentaries is 'Women Frames' (time limit 1 hr.). There is no specific theme for fiction (time limit 1hr). Entry fee for Competition section for both documentaries and shorts is Rs. 500 per film. The winning entries shall be awarded cash prizes and a citation.

For details, contact: VIBGYOR Film Festival Office Chetana Media Institute Kalliath Sq., Palace Road Trichur 680 020, Kerala, INDIA Tel: 91+ 487-2330830/2323590 www.vibgyorfilmfest.com info at vibgyorfilmfest.com

Thanks to Anivar for forwarding this link.

Friday, November 25, 2005

In Orissa, green films

Ranjan Kishor Panda has announced, via the grassroots-caucus on Dgroups.org that the Travelling Film Festival 2005: Environment, Beyond Trees and Tigers is being held by the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi in association with Manav Adhikar Seva Samiti(MASS), Sambalpur.
Details as below:
Date: November 30 - December 1, 2005. Time: 1:00 pm - 07:00 pm Jayadev Bhavan (Soochna Bhavan), Ashok Nagar, Bhubaneswar, Orissa
RSVP: 09437050103, 09868051397, 09871080849
ORISSA TRAVELING FILM FESTIVAL, NOVEMBER 30 - DECEMBER 1, 2005
PROGRAMME SCHEDULE
Venue: Jayadev Bhavan (Soochna Bhavan), Ashok Nagar, Bhubaneswar
WEDNESDAY, 30-11-2005
FILM SHOWS
01.00 pm - 02.00 pm Registration
02.05 pm - 02.30 pm Opening Film: Drinking the Sky
02.30 pm - 03.00 pm Tell Tale Signs
03.05 pm - 03.45 pm The Ridley's Last Stand
INAUGURAL CEREMONY
04.00 pm - 04.30 pm Keynote Address - Pradip Saha, Associate Director, CSE, New Delhi
04.30 pm - 04.45 pm Welcome Address - Ranjan Kishore Panda, Secretary, MASS, Orissa
04.45 pm- 05.00 pm Festival Inauguration and Inaugural Address Biswabhusan Harichandan
05.00 pm - 05.10 pm Film Release - National release of CSE film "The Rain Catchers"
05.10 pm- 05.20 pm Session - A CSE Presentation on Urban Water Scenario
05.20 pm - 06.00 pm Film Screening - "The Rain Catchers"
06. 00 pm -06.45 pm "Who will manage our environment" - panel discussion chaired by Achyut Das, Director, Agragamme, Orissa
06: 45 pm - 07.00 pm Photo and Poster Exhibition Inauguration
07: 00 pm Vote of Thanks
THURSDAY, 01-12-2005
01.00 pm - 01.30 pm Changing Climates: The Impact
01.35 pm - 02.00 pm Changing Climates: The Future
02.05 pm - 02.30 pm Drinking the Sky
02.35 pm - 03.15 pm The Rain Catchers (Followed by discussion on the film)
03.40 pm - 04.30 pm The Village Republic
04.35 pm - 04.45 pm Oozy Ozone
04.50 pm - 05.10 pm Race to Save the Sky - Every Action Counts
05.15 pm - 05.40 pm Pulp Aid
05.45 pm - 06.45 pm The Ridley's Last Stand (Followed by discussion on the film)
06.50 pm - 07.00 pm Prize distribution to winners of painting competition
07.05 pm Vote of Thanks
SIDE EVENT
02.30 pm - 03.30 pm Drawing & Painting Competition (Age group 8-12 yrs, 13 and above)
Participants to bring their own painting kit. Painting Sheet will be provided

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Fifth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival : Apply : Application Step 1

There's this apparently US-based call for entries for the Fifth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival. It quotes Tim Robbins saying:
"Technology has been creating a lot of exciting opportunities and new delivery systems. We have organizations like Media That Matters to find new materials, new voices, and new points of view."
QUOTE: If a film is made and no one sees it, does it make an impact? Submit your film to Media That Matters and be heard. If you want to make an impact, this is the festival for you -- Media That Matters will bring your social-issue short to audiences around the world! Sixteen winners get an international distribution deal - DVD, broadcast, web streaming and hundreds of community screenings. Plus many films get cash awards. Media That Matters launches in NYC with a premiere and awards ceremony (previous presenters have included Tim Robbins, Chuck D and David Cross). The shorts are distributed to educators with a Teacher's Guide and integrated into activist campaigns all year long....CLOSEQUOTE All generes (documentary, narrative, experimental, comedy, animation, PSA, digital story, music video, game, interactive online project, youth media) welcome. The shorter the better. Eight minutes max. Films on social and environmental issues sought. Youth-produced projects welcome... Maybe we need more such alternatives for India!

Apsara Awards (TM)

The Film & Television Producers is reporting that its Second Apsara Film and TV Producers Guild Awards (Apsara Awards) will be held on January 21, 2006. The Apsara Awards honor excellence in categories of film and TV. This year, the qualifying period for entries is from April 1, 2004 to December 31, 2005. There are 45 categories for the awards, including 10 special awards. Check the website or contact Anindya Dasgupta on 5691 0662 or 2673 3065. Or see www.fpgia.com. Entries latest by Nov 26, 2005.

Monday, August 29, 2005

A film-makers network being planned in India

Pankaj Gupta of Delhi (his email address says "Lodhi Road") is forwarding a note announcing plans for an Indian grassroots film-makers broadcasters' network. Rahul Kumar of One World South Asia reports that Indian grassroots filmmakers and non governmental organisations (NGOs) plan
to form a grassroots broadcasters network "to spread awareness on developmental and social issues confronting rural India using videos and films. At a seminar -- using video for development -- organized on Wednesday ((August 24, 2005) by OneWorld South Asia (OWSA), Video SEWA (Self Employed Women's Association) and the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), NGOs decided to harness the power of films, shot by rural folk, women and people at the grassroots level, for creating awareness people's issues. The seminar celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Gujarat-based Video SEWA, an organisation that works for and mobilizes marginalised women, which has used films for advocating the rights of small shopkeepers, hawkers and vendors. Participants said since video is an audio-visual medium, it influences people strongly therefore it can be effectively used for awareness, sensitization and empowerment in rural communities.
This report also refers to the New Delhi-based The Centre for Civil Society. One page of its 2004 film festival is here
New Delhi-based CCS holds documentary film festivals and invites video/films on livelihoods, red tapism and governmental policies that exclude the urban poor. Its documentary film festival 'Jeevika' creates a platform for amateurs and grassroots film producers to showcase their creativity. Manali Shah from CCS said: "The protagonists in our films are rickshaw pullers, hawkers, street food-stall owners and similar other workers of the informal sector. We focus on how government policies and the licence raj exploits these workers and almost prevents them from earning a livelihood."

Telesur... from down south in Venezuela

This is an article about TeleSur, described as
To balance the anti-Chavez local press and pro-American CNN, Venezuela is launching a South American Al Jazeera. With journalistic heavyweights and a non-corporate vibe, the channel arrives on the scene as a number of Latin American nations are leaning politically left.
Apparently the article is originally from here. Florencia Mujica of Telesur, who looks after programming, writes:
I don’t speak English very well, but I want to tell you that we are very interested about Indian documentaries.
You can contact her at fmujica at telesurtv.net Wikipedia has this entry on TeleSur. And the home page of teleSUR (what's the actual spelling?) in Spanish is here. One critical perspective from Gustavo Coronel.

IDPA awards... from Mumbai (Bombay)

Indian Documentary Producers' Association is talking about its IDPA Awards for Excellence 2005. Films produced between January 1, 2004 and June 30, 2005 are eligible, and they must come by September 8, 2005. Details and entry form are available at IDPA's site. For those curious, the IDPA is contactable at 223, Famous Cine Building, 20,Dr.E.Moses Road Mahalaxmi, Mumbai 400011 Tel: 2492 0757 and 2496 1020. A self-description: IDPA is a non-profit organisation that came into being in 1956. It is registered as a public trust under the Bombay Public Trust Act 1950. Today IDPA is India’s single largest association of producers of documentaries, animation films, advertisement films and TV programmes. It says:
IDPA's main concern is to promote the independent documentary film movement in the country. In this context we disseminate information that is useful to independent film makers. Apart from promoting the theatrical exhibition of documentaries, IDPA has also had some success in helping film makers with marketing and opening broadcast possibilities in India.

Another fest... at Madurai

This announcement from Amudhan R.P lets us know about plans for the 7th Madurai Documentary Festival -- a non-competitive one -- to be held in December 2005 in that South Indian city. the second-largest in Tamil Nadu. Films invited in DVD format. Contact amudhanrp at rediffmail.com Amudhan Ramalingampushpam is the person behind it. He's based in Marupakkam. And he writes:
We are a media activist group involved in making documentaries, organising regular screenings, video festivals, video workshops in and around Madurai since 1994.
To know more about him and his work, check these Google links

Details of 'Deconstructing Disasters'

Max Martin's post announces details of the 'Deconstructing Disasters' film festival, to be held in October 2005 in India, featuring ten films. It is being organised by Indiadisasters.org and have screenings in collaboration with select partners in and around Chennai, Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram. These are south Indian cities around the area which mainly felt the impact of the December 26, 2004 tsunami. One interesting initiative during the fest is:
Documentation -- digital filming of the film festival process, with special focus on the response to the films and discussions in villages and rehabilitation camps.
More details from docufest2005 at gmail.com

CEE's video resource centres

Thanks to a posting from Nandini from the Video Resource Centre of the Centre for Environmental Education, a network in India, I came across this link. Nandini writes:
We, at CEE, also organise film festivals, and public screenings. We also lend films to media organisations for non-commercial public screenings. We organize these activities as part of our VRC activities. As you may know, CEE is one of the Video Resource Centres (VRC) of the International Television Trust for the Environment (TVE). As a VRC, CEE has been involved in dissemination of video programmes on environment and development and social justice and also use the print and the internet to disseminate information. CEE produces new programmes, version programmes into local languages and also has a large collection of video programmes on environment and development issues.
A search for CEE's VRC's threw up this. And, this page has links for audio-visuals for environment education, both from the video resource centre and films on Gujarat's protected areas. (CEE is headquartered in the western Indian state of Gujarat; I once half-seriously toyed with the idea of taking up a job there, at the start of my writing career.) CEE also says it has produced language versions of 57 Hands On stories in four Indian languages. Hands On is a television programme that showcases practical solutions to a broad range of development concerns, produced by the Television for Environment. Over the past five years, some 150 programmes have been produced (by TVE).

Docuwallahs2 crosses double century

Good news! Docuwallahs2has just crossed 200 members. Actually, it's 202 right now. This list, started on an idea from Stalin Kurup in Gujarat, is the source of much of the information going into this blog. Thank you Docuwallahs!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

What more! A billion eyes...

Another, earlier blog-entry brought me here to the One Billion Eyes, Indian documentary film festival. And it does seem like a very interesting place indeed. The 2005 page has links to the festival itself, films, schedules, themes, the entry form and contact details. This year's festival, as the schedule indicates, was in mid-August. Googling helped me find a link to Prakriti Foundation and details of artistic director Ranvir Shah's interests and concerns. For 2005, the theme was animals, art and activism. Say the organisers:
It showed us that there is a growing audience for documentary films and they are very interested in different points and perspectives -- women issues, alternate sexuality, art, travel or identities. Over the years, we'd like to feature films on the widest possible range of subjects. So, we have decided to take them on alphabetically, beginning with the letter 'A' this year.

Disaster, tragedy and film

In case you were curious to know why there's this spate of disaster films being spoken of (below), the mailing list Docuwallahs2 recently carried this announcement by Max Martin, editor of Indiadisasters.org about plans to hold a film festival on the theme of disasters, in October. He writes:
The idea is to focus on the theme of disaster rehabilitation, throwing in aspects of preparedness, rights and standards. We have received some entries specifically on tsunami rehabilitation. And promises about some more films that are nearing completion. We have yet to make a final list. We are plannning it as a multi-city initiative, possibly with some screenings in temporary rehabilitation shelters and fishing hamlets. Definitely there will be screenings in Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram. Possibly in Nagapattinam and Kanyakumari as well.

Cyclone in Gujarat...

' Cyclone in Gujarat - Lessons Learnt,' is a film by Sehjo Singh , a freelance journalist. The film depicted the aftermath of the Kandla (Gujarat) cyclone and the livelihood problems faced by the people in its wake. This is one of the few online references to Sehjo's work.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Jahangirabad? Where's that?

Gauhar Raza has announced that he is heading the 'Jahangirabad Media Institute' and is currently collecting documentaries for their library. Says he, "I would welcome the help in terms of locating the documentaries and also purchasing them for the institute." For those curious about this institution, see a report on the Jahangirabad Media Institute. It's a story "straight out of Bollywood" as this report puts it -- a group of non-resident Indians from America and India return to give back "a fraction" of what their country had given them. What emerges
out of this "dream" was a magical transformation of a decrepit, forgotten 150-year-old Jahangirabad Fort in Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh into a world-class institute offering postgraduate courses in media and mass communication, bio-informatics, bio-technology, para-medicine, medicine and engineering.
For more information about Gauhar Raza, this googled find with over 500 posts should suffice. Right on top is his Evil Stalks the Land. And for understandable reasons, perhaps! It is a powerful historical record of what happens when the ideology of hate takes over.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Old Sea and The Man... film on the tsunami

R.R.Srinivasan has informed us about his new film on the tsunami. It's called Old Sea and The Man ("a documentary film on tsunami and other coastal issues", duration 70 mts, format-DV Cam). He explains it thus:
The tsunami that occurred on 26 December 2004 was clearly one of the deadliest natural disasters the world has seen in recent times. Resulting in 8081 deaths in Tamilnadu, hundreds of thousands more displaced, and massive infrastructure destruction, there is no doubt that concerted and long-term attention needs to be paid to the rebuilding of the affected communities. This documentary made in post-Tsunami situation of Tamil Nadu (south India) clearly brings out the range of human rights violations of the coastal communities in the name of “development”. The obvious human rights violations of these communities that result from the so called relief and rehabilitation efforts are many. Through the views of the coastal communities across the coast line of Tamil Nadu, this documentary exposes the design of the State to forcibly relocate the fishing community from their pre-tsunami settlements that amounts to completely uprooting them from their livelihood resources. This documentary also clearly brings out the man-made silent Tsunami’s that has been eroding the lives of coastal communities and coastal resources for decades now. The resistance of the coastal communities to the so called development based on market oriented models generated by globalisation continues.
Some credits: Commentary script R. Vidyasagar, Ajai Jacob. Research and co-ordinator Ajai Jacob. Editor Thangaraj. Co-director and still photographer: Kutti Revathi. Music S.L. Vaidyanathan. Produced by Action Aid International India at Shenoy Nagar, Chennai. Script, videography and direction R.R. Srinivasan.

About 300 documentaries...

Gujarat-based DRISHTI (drishtiad1 at sancharnet.in) has announced that it has a collection of "about 300 documentaries" in their library, from which they regularly lend films to individuals, students, NGOs and social movements. Said Drishti, "We are digitsing information on each of these films..."

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A documentary on droughts, a story from Orissa

This is an article on Rupashree Nanda's film on drought, hunger and exploitation in Orissa. By some coincidence, one of our local newspapers here in Goa, the The Navhind Times carried a review of this documentary. Writer Bibhuti Mishra described it thus:
Villagers in the dry land of Bolangir in Orissa battle hunger, succumb to starvation and sell off children to survive. Landless and the marginal farmers are subjected to one of the worst forms of exploitation. In this sage a human suffering, both human and constitutional rights are violated year after year.
When an email came from here last, in January 2005, Rupashree Nanda's email address was rupsnanda at rediffmail.com (no spam please!). She had then forwarded a mail from the innovative BYOFF, started at Puri (Orissa). If you're wondering what that is, it stands for the bringyourown film festival, the organisers of which can be contacted at byoffpuri at rediffmail.com. That forwarded mail was a note from BYOFF to say that:
We wish to clarify that anybody can come with a film (made in any format) irrespective of the year in which it was made as long as the film has not been presented in BYOFF earlier. Yeah, even the Lumiere brothers are also welcome. As you know, BYOFF started with the idea of no awards, no juries, no selection and no hierarchy. The festival intends to go beyond and create a space for filmmakers, cinephiles, writers, painters, singers and artists from other fields to gather at one place, share their work, encourage the young ones and appreciate the old bosses. Artistes from other fields are also welcome to show their works. Don't have anything to show? No problem. Just come over and be one of us.
Nice to read of Rupashree Nanda's work. This is one film I'd like to have the chance to view! Needless to say, Indian documentary film-makers do deserve a better profile in the (print, but not only it) media.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Therapy for Tsunami-affected kids

Leena Manimekalai -- leenaraghu at yahoo.co.uk -- who describes herself as a media activist based in Chennai has completed a documentary feature on therapy for Tsunami-affected children in Nagapatinam (on the east coast of South India). She writes, "Just yesterday, it got premeired in the One Billion Eyes documentary festival in Chennai." An in case you were wondering, Chennai was formerly known as Madras -- India's fourth largest city located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, with an estimated population of 7.45 million. It also is the 41st largest metropolitan area in the world, is a large commercial and industrial centre, and is known for its cultural heritage and temple architecture.

SheWrite... narratives of work and Tamil poetry

Dr Anjali Monteiro and Dr K.P. Jayasankar of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, Bombay's Unit for Media and Communications have announced the launch of SheWrite which they've jointly directed. SheWrite DVCAM, 55 mins, Tamil with English subtitles, 2005 They describe it thus:
SheWrite weaves together the narratives and work of four Tamil women poets. Salma negotiates subversive expression within the tightly circumscribed space allotted to a woman in the small town of Thuvarankurichi. She is able to defy and transcend family proscriptions on writing to become a significant voice questioning patriarchal mores in a powerful yet gentle way. For Kuttirevathi, a Siddha doctor and researcher based in Chennai, solitude is a crucial creative space from where her work resonates, speaking not just for herself but also for other women who are struggling to find a voice. Her anthology entitled Breasts (2003) became a controversial work that elicited hate mail, obscene calls and threats. The fact that a number of women poets are resisting patriarchy and exploring themes such as desire and sexuality in their creative work been virulently opposed by some Tamil film lyricists, who have gone on record with threats of death and violence. This has been resisted by a group of poets and other artists who have formed a collective called Anangu (Woman), which is attempting to expand the subversive creative spaces available to women writers and poets, across Tamil Nadu. Malathy Maitri, who lives in Pondicherry, has been a Dalit and Marxist activist. She is a founder member of Anangu. Her poems attempt to explore and express feminine power and spaces. Sukirtharani, a school teacher in Lalapet, writes of desire and longing, celebrating the body in a way that affirms feminine empowerment and a rejection of male-centred discourse. The film traverses these diverse modes of resistance, through images and sounds that evoke the universal experiences of pain, anger, desire and transcendence. More on the film at http://shewrite.tripod.com/index.htm
Their earlier work is Naata. Here's wishing Anjali and Jayasankar all the very best. Not the least for their persistence in bringing to light quality and interesting work... and also because they take the trouble to offer online links to the work.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Jinnah versus Jinnah, Pakistani versus Indian perspectives

Deccan Herald (Bangalore, August 14, 2005) is reporting that a documentary "Jinnah versus Jinnah", with voice-over by renowned advertising personality Alyque Padamsee, tries to "unravel questions regarding the the Qaid-e-Azam's ideology". This 45-minute film, produced by Zee News in collaboration with News Watch Asia, has been anchored by acclaimed actor Irrfan and was scheduled for telecast on August 14 on Zee News says a report titled 'Documentary on Jinnah for I-Day eve'. "The film portrays the lesser known facts about Jinnah, which people in India would like to know," Padamsee is quoted saying. DH News Service added, "The documentary is another path-breaking effort of Zee News to look at important events through the eyes of dispassionate observers. Indiatelevision.com has this report on Jinnah Vs.Jinnah. It says:
The 45-minute documentary, to be telecast at 8 pm, attempts to find some answers to the controversial historical personality and, in the process, raise some new questions. At the least, it promises to inform, said script-writer Anmol Saxena of News Watch Asia, the makers of the documentary. Was Jinnah a secular at heart? ... Was Jinnah communal from the very beginning? Or, is it too simplistic to categories his life span into one ideology? Or is he mystified in one nation and ignored in another? ... The film, rich in its footage from London and Karachi, has been produced by Zee News in collaboration with News Watch Asia comprsing some senior print medium jounalist like Raju Santhanam. While Mohammad Ali Jinnah has been given the status of Quad e Azam in Pakistan, very little is known about him in India. The film interviews prominent historians of Pakistan like Ayesha Jalal, London-based sub- continent researcher Syed Hasan Khan, British historian David Page, besides Mushurral Hassan and Professor Bipin Chandra to name a few. The film has also sourced letters from the archives to indicate that Jinnah and Winston Churchill were in secret correspondence as both were working towards a common cause of not to give the entire nation of India to the Congress.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Indian reality gets a new face on the screen

You may have not noticed it, but something big is happening on the small screen across the country. Alternative Indian documentary is booming. There's a whole lot of creative output coming out of a wide range of film-makers, who have the skills and courage to tell the truth bluntly, just as it is. Dhananjoy Mondal (37) of West Bengal, who made a film on an unusual tribe of crow-eaters, said in an interview: "I have seen the 'Kakmaras' ever since my childhood days. Clad in their peculiar dress, pulling up their manners and gestures, they would attract me. But they are as much the citizens of this country as we are; they are as much human beings as we are! The urge to know and explore the 'other' world of the marginal men (and women) has led to the formulation of this film." Vinayan Kodoth directed a "nearly non-verbal" film that "builds up a surreal picture of Bombay". For instance, what does it feel to be part of a desperate crowd of seven million commuters who use the sub-urban trains to travel to work each day? This film won awards at Madrid, Chicao, Uruguay, Ann arbor, and Seoul. As Anand Patwardhan, noted documentary-maker and old enough to be the father of many younger film-makers, says: "Audiences in India are ripe for good documentary films. I've had full houses just with word-of-mouth publicity at almost every screening done." Mumbai-based Sidharth Meer put together his film 'Right Here, Right Now' over a couple of days. It went on to get notice in the film circuit in the West. In Orissa, the Bring Your Own Film Festival at Puri offers five days of films at a fee of as little as Rs 50 for students (four times that amount for non-students). The idea is simply: you bring your own film, and screen it. This is no coincidence. Technology has become more affordable. Today, you don't need costly and bulky equipment to create a film -- and digital technology is really driving down the price. Computers allow you to edit your movie on your desktop. That's not all. Today, an alternate film can be shared via a CD. You can make the copies at home, and circulate it to your audience at a few rupees per CD. Often less than Rs 10. At last year-end's International Film Festival of India held in Goa, the wealth of alternative cinema made its presence felt. From the nuclearisation of South Asia to the human price of war, films on artists and folk musicians, about ethnic tribal clashes in the North East, and even a film about a film -- these themes showed up among the 20 'non-feature films' in Indian Panorama section. Films screened ranged from 'The Green Warriors - Apatanis' (on the unusual tribal sustainable agricultural practices in Arunachal), to 'I Couldn't Be Your Son, Mom' (about a gender crisis), 'Invisible Parsis: The Poor of a Prosperous Community' by Kaevan Umrigar, and Sanjivan Lal's 'Is God Deaf?' (on religion-linked noise pollution). Lawyer Satyajit Bhatkal's 'Chale Chalo... The Lunacy of Film Making' is a feature-length documentary that tells the story of the making of the Bollywood blockbuster film 'Lagaan'. Hindi-Punjabi film 'Chaurus Chaand' is about revolutionary and poet Avtaar Singh Sandhu, gunned down in 1988 by Khalistani militants, directed by Film and TV Institute of India student Vibhu Puri. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Out there, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of enthusiastic people behind the camera making their own films. Take the case of the Kriti Film Club of Alaknanda in New Delhi. They've been running their Kriti Film Club to take "thought-provoking cinema" and use it to "deepen understandings on social and development issues amongst film makers and viewers". But, more importantly, they hope to create a space where students, activists, academician, development professionals, media and friends can come together and interact through meaningful cinema. By keeping these films on sale, they hope to encourage the film-makers' work. Most of these young and terribly-talented people are doing a great job too. They're telling the story in a way which simply doesn't surface in the media otherwise. They're speaking out in favour of the weak and powerless, who are left without a voice. Of course, there are still thousands of stories waiting to be told, in a country the diversity of India. In more ways than one, it's as if the genie has got out of the bottle. There is no putting it back either. Films are becoming easier to shoot, the technology is reaching the hands of those who can use it, and suddenly you don't anymore need costly hard-to-access equipment to make or view a film or even to easily share one. But there's one crucial part of this jigsaw that's missing. There's simply no distribution channel for alternate film in India. India's still state-controlled -- claims of autonomy notwithstanding -- long-dominant television network Doordarshan has little space in which to portray the reality of the vast majority of this country. Likewise, the growth of literally dozens of cable television channels hasn't opened up any more options for the 'other India'. In such a situation, a whole lot of Indian documentary is getting noticed at festivals and viewings across the globe... but not in India itself. Take the case of the Unit for Media and Communications, working out of Mumbai's Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Just this single organisation itself has put out a rich collection of video productions -- most of which are obviously still inadequately known about in the development, alternate and campaign networks in India. Let aside the mainstream. From 1991 till now, Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar say the UMC's output tackled almost two dozen themes ranging from mental disability, to water cooperatives, 'criminalised' tribes, communal amity, and prison life. Monteiro says the advent of digital technology had led to an "explosion of creativity" on the production front. "Films are being made by all kinds of people with something to say, and not just professional filmmakers. This has led to a lot of experimentation in terms of form, themes, modes of distribution and more," she added. Some Indian film-makers set up an electronic-based mailing list called Docuwallahs2 on the Internet site Yahoogroups.com, aimed at networking alternative film-makers. Today, other networks in India such as Vikalp and CAC-Delhi, focussed on combatting the problem of censorship in films. Young lawyer Lawrence Liang of Bangalore, an alumni of the prestigious National Law School, argues that Indian documentary and alternate film makers could do well to think of starting to license their works under an 'open content' license. Our current model of copyrights hardly helps the small player in the alternative space. While it brings wealth and control to big players in the corporate world, the copyright model is yet to make a single alternate film popular or earn anything significant for an alternate film-maker. Lawrence Liang argues: "Most documentary film makers do not live off royalty in any case. Their films are either commissioned or they earn some money from various prizes, invitations and the like. So, the fear of the loss of revenue cannot be a very serious one." Adds Monteiro: "The possibilities for public broadcast are very limited, given the censorship (of alt films ) by the state and of the market. While there are attempts to reach out through local, travelling festivals and screenings by activist groups and educational networks, these are sporadic and pitifully few for a country the size of India." Indian alternative film simply deserves a wider impact and a greater audience? -- Frederick Noronha, April 2005

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Of brothels, Oscars and censors...

It's unlikely you haven't heard it. The Oscar for the best documentary this year has gone to Born Into Brothels, which tells the story of children of prostituted-women in Kolkata's red light district. Take a look at this search on Google.com which throws up nearly one-third of a million references to the film. MPAA, the Motion Picture Association (earlier, of America), has apparently rated it R for some sequences of strong language. Deccan Herald believes that "the film, in its present form, will have a problem with the censors as it contains profane language". Of course, the other point is that the film's producer says she had promised the prostituted-women that their identity will not be revealed....

To the Garos, in Meghalaya

Robin De of Kolkata's Robin's Visual Concepts produced a film in May-June 2004 on the Wangala dance of the Garo tribe in the Garo Hills of Meghalaya -- in the little-understood North Eastern region of India. De belives that film could play a role in recording for posterity the life-style, cultural practices and beliefs of the tribals of India. His film is in DVCAM format, and 39 minutes long. It's in English. He can be contacted via email at Robin De

Taking films to the beach... and beyond

Bring Your Own Film Festival is a fascinating concept from the eastern Indian state of Orissa. Organisers explain it thus: "For a while some of us,a motley bunch of film makers, felt the need for some free space where independent film makers could gather and show their work to each other, exchange thoughts, ideas, information and experiences. True, there are a few film festivals with such opportunities, but mainly in the oppressive atmosphere of big cities and sometimes under the cloud of a bureaucratic government machinery. No place where we could let our hair down and just be ourselves. So we zeroed in on PURI, for a start we decided to have a film festival right on the beach. After an initial reccee we found the place ideally suited for our purpose." They going on to make a more crucial point -- that "the current scenario of independent film making in India (particularly for documentaries) is in a state of flux". They feel that such attempts made by film makers themselves "will go a long way in giving a boost to the cause of the small, independent documentary, short fiction and feature films". BYOFF says it is also an attempt to take the ‘independent film’ to smaller places, outside of the big cities. We would specially like to encourage younger film makers, who find it difficult to find platforms for themselves." This is an "open-ended five-day" event with some screenings in the night. It works in a simple style: "Participants will mail us about their intention to come and if they are bringing films, they will inform us about the duration and format of the films. We request even those who would like to come but are not sure yet about their ability to attend, to inform us so that we can anticipate the numbers." This year's event was from February 16 to 20. BTW, their blog is here.

Films that focus on the fight for a living

Jeevika describes its goal as that of "show caseing films which focus on peoples' struggles in earning a living in a vocation of their choice." It this time highlighted "15 stories that depict legal and regulatory restrictions, bureaucratic process of approvals and licenses with attendant extortion and harassment as well as social and cultural norms and religious practices that prevent or constrain people from earning an honest living". These -- and the lack of rule of law, absence of transparency and accountability in governance, and poor enforcement of individual rights including property rights -- jointly conspire to "take away the freedom to earn a living". Announced in January 2005 this time round, it called on people to "be a part of the livelihood freedom movement". Programme co-ordinator Manali Shah announced that the films being shown included Dhanya Pilo's Bhuj 40, Rupashree Nanda's Harvest of Hunger, Pankaj Kumar Rishi's Gharat, Biju KC's ...3...2..1..0? Who Can Change Me?, Suhaik Bukhari and Piyush Pushpak's Zarina, Kapilas Bhuyan's Breathing Without Air, Amudhan RP's Pee (Shit), Raza Haider and Kaukab's Pedal Soldier of India, Rakesh Sharma's Aftershocks: A Rough Guide to Democracy, Swati Khatri's Peruwale Gaikwad, Mousmi Bilkish's Kobi (The Versifier), Gurpreet Singh and Justin Jolly Samuel's TRAN, The Three, Meenakshi Vinay Rai's ... and the Nomads Took Root, Balaji Mohan Rajkumar, Rita Chaudhry, Saharika Suri and Ipsit Patel's Chhakda, and Nimish Desai's A Life of Motion and Commotion. It's venue has been the Centre for Civil Society at K35 Hauz Khas Enclave in New Delhi, which is also linked here.

The Indian documentary... historical background

Upperstall.com has this two-part commentary on the Indian documentary. It begins thus: "The Indian documentary may be traced back to the 'Factual films' or Topicals as they were called, of Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatwadekar (Save Dada) who in 1899 shot a wrestling match and between two well-known wrestlers Pundalik Dada and Krishna Navi at Bombay's Hanging Gardens. A short followed this on the antics of monkeys - the first Indian 'documentaries.' In 1901 he made perhaps the first Indian newsreel of the public reception accorded to Ragunath P Paranjpye who had won a special distinction in Maths at Cambridge and in 1903 covered the great Durbar held in Delhi to celebrate the coronation of Edward VII." Part II of the article here concludes thus: "With the advent of video and particularly DV, today the entire scenario of documentary filmmaking of India has changed. More and more independent filmmakers and organizations are making their own documentaries. While continuing to make documentaries, Films Division organized the inauguaral International Film Festival for documentaries, short films and animations in both film and video formats at Mumbai in 1990, where much of this work was seen along with short films, animations and documentaries made internationally. The Festival, competitive in nature, also includes retrospectives of Master Documentary Filmmakers the world over and has an International Film Market to help filmmakers sell their films. The Festival has become so successful that it is now held every two years in Mumbai with the 7th edition scheduled in February 2002." Too bad it didn't take note of the initiatives of film-makers, particularly their fight against archiac censorship concepts.

Film-makers in Delhi

Via Media introduces itself thus: "We are independent filmmakers based in New Delhi, India, involved in the production of documentary films and other electronic media products on topics of science, technology, art, society and culture for last ten years." Films they have worked on are listed here. One of the films on this page includes Buddha Weeps in Jadugoda. They've edited and voiced this hour long documentary about the effects of Uranium mining on the tribal people of Jadugoda in Jharkhand (Bihar). Directed by Sri Prakash of Ranchi (April 1999). Participated and won the third prize at the Himal South Asian Film Festival, Kathmandu, Nepal in September 1999.

Database of documentary film in India... only an attempt

Here's an attempt to build a listing of Indian documentary films. Only 22 as of date. Obviously huge gaps in information...

From Mumbai (Bombay): Anjali, Jayasankar's work... and more

Naata, or "The Bond" is a touching film about how we can learn the message of peace and tolerance from Asia's "largest slum", Dharavi in India's commercial capital of Mumbai (formerly Bombay). If you want to know more about the team that made it, look at the Unit for Media and Communications of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Incidentally, the UMC and their longish listing of work done in documentary is also here. One of my writeups on this film is here and also here on EPO.de. Meanwhile, this is a post made to the Nettime mailing list about films from the UMC.

FreedomFilmsIndia.org ... out a battle against censorship

FreedomFilmsIndia.org calls itself "an action platform of over 300 Indian documentary filmmakers. The filmmakers came together as Campaign Against Censorship in response to an attempt by the Mumbai International Film Festival to impose censorship on Indian films." Some more background: "In February 2004, Mumbai became the location of an unprecedented act of cultural resistance, Vikalp: Films For Freedom, a six-day long festival of documentary films. Running parallel to MIFF 2004, Vikalp was run by the filmmakers themselves, and the festival screened all the films rejected by MIFF 2004, as well as more than a dozen films withdrawn from MIFF by their filmmakers in protest of the covert censorship-by-selection"

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Films Anonymous? Yes, from Hyderabad

Found FilmsAnonymous.com which calls itself a platform for short films and documentaries.. It explains the concept thus: "Short films - though neglected in comparison to full-length feature films, can be as informative as educational, as entertaining as topical as any other medium. Recent developments across the world have established the fact that short films and documentaries can have large appeal and substantial commercial value. We believe that it is about time there was more viewership and interest amongst Indian filmmakers and audiences as well to give short films its due credit." Its goal? To bridge the gap between the film industry and short film filmmakers by showcasing their works in an informal ambience, to an audience that can make a difference.

Cinemawoman.com ... gender, human rights from Kolkata

Quote from the CinemaWoman.com website: Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti is a filmmaker, television journalist, writer and activist based in Calcutta, India. Ananya's areas of specialisation are Gender and Human Rights. Ananya is a member of Vikalp (an association of film-makers who are opposed to any form of censorship), IAWRT (International Association for Women in Radio and Television, Norway), NWMI (Network for Women in Media, India), Bengal Network and PIPFD (Pakistan Indian People's Forum for Peace and Democracy). Has links to documentary films, feature films, activism, etc...

Infochange film forum (from Pune)

Check out this Infochange Film Forum which has some interesting links to documentary films coming out of India.

Links to documentary in India, censorship

Docuwallahs2 is a network that discusses documentary films in India. It was launched in its earlier form of Docuwallahs by Stalin, a film-maker based in Ahmedabad. It is run on the Yahoogroups.com network. Other groups of film-makers discussing some interesting censorship and alt-documentary related issues are CACDelhi and Vikalp. Quote from Vikalp: Vikalp - Films for Freedom is a platform to defend freedom of expression and to resist censorship..