Chennai International Documentary Film Festival on Democracy
15, 16, 17 August 2014; Periyar Thidal; 11 am to 5 pm
Organised by MARUPAKKAM, Magic Lantern Movies and Periyar Self Respect Media, Periyar Thidal
15 August 2014
Guest Speakers: Govi Lenin, Josua Isaac
11 am : Red Ant Dreams (119 min)
Dir: Sanjay Kak
Let us declare that state of war does exist and shall exist, the revolutionary patriot had said, almost a hundred years ago, and that forewarning travels into India’s present, as armed insurrection simmers in Bastar, in the troubled heart of central India. But in the east too, beleaguered adivasi’s from the mineral rich hills of Odisha came forth bearing their axes, and their songs. And in the north the swelling protests by Punjabi peasants sees hop coagulate- once more- around that iconic figure of Bhagat Singh, revolutionary martyr of the anti colonial struggle.
1 pm Lunch break
2 pm : One day ahead of democracy (117 min)
Dir: Amlan Datta
Malana, a remote village in the Himalayas, isolated from outside civilization for thousands of years has been fostering a divine existence in harmony with nature and a unique model of democracy of consensus. The hidden treasure of their governance has been trust and they have been selecting not electing!
They have also been producing some of the best quality hashish. In the seventies came some white men who taught them how to rub the crème and drew them into hashish trade. Malana crème became world famous.
The rule of our modern day democracy has to be established, so Malana becomes a part of Indian electorate. In name of development the curse of modern world starts destroying their traditional culture and social practices. A united community gets divided and goes to vote for the Indian general elections.
4:00 : A Certain Liberation (37 min)
Dir: Yasmine Kabir
Gurudasi Mondol gave herself up to madness in 1971, during the Liberation War of Bangladesh, as she watched her entire family being killed by the collaborators of the occupying forces. Thirty years later, Gurudasi continues to roam the streets of Kopilmoni, a small-town in rural Bangladesh, in quest of all she has lost; snatching at will from strangers and breaking into spaces normally reserved for men. In her madness, she has found a strategy for survival.
In Kopilmoni, Gurudasi has attained near legendary status. Through her indomitable presence, she has kept alive the spirit of the Liberation War.
16 August 2014
Guest speakers: Kavitha Muralidharan, Geetha Ilangovan, Baskar Sakthi, Ajayan Bala, Kadarkarai
11 am: Dear Mandela (93 min)
Dir: Dara Kell & Christopher Nizza
When the South African government promises to “eradicate the slums” and beings to evict the shack dwellers far outside the cities, three friends who live in Durbans’s vast shantytowns refuse to be moved. ‘Dear Mandela’ follows their journey from their shacks to the highest court in the land as they evoke Nelson Mandela’s example and become leaders in a growing social movement. The film offers a new perspective on the role that young people can play in political change and is a fascinating portrait of South African coming of age.
12:30 : Taana Baana: The Warp and Weft of India (23 min)
Set up as a musical with no interviews, 'Taana Baana: The warp and weft of India’ weaves together the metaphoric act of weaving with the musical traditions of north India to reflect on what holds the nation together. A nation of heterogeneous and contradictory realities, India houses over a billion people from diverse regions, religions, languages, and practices. The film uses the prism of poetry of the 14th century poet, Kabir, that is sung till date by a wide range of contemporary musicians from diverse genres, to look at the fabric of the nation that is based on plurality.
1:00 Lunch break
2:00 : Struggle (60 min)
Dir: Roger Hill
Struggle is a case study of the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio, the deciding swing state which delivered the presidency once again to George W. Bush. Diligently researched by the key contributors to the film, Struggle is a bold film that challenges the legitimacy of that Presidential Election and brings the entire U.S. electoral process into question
3:00 : In Gods Land (72 min)
Dir: Pankaj Rishi Kumar
The film documents the journey of a tiny village, Inam Alungalam in Tamil Nadu, which is robbed off its land in order to construct a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
Guest Speakers: Gowthama Siddarthan, Senthalir, Muralikrishnan Chinnathurai
11 am : Salma (90 min)
Dir: Kim Longinotto
When Salma, a young Muslim girl in a south Indian village, was 13 years old, her family locked her up for 25 years, forbidding her to study and forcing her into marriage. During that time, words were Salma's salvation. She began covertly composing poems on scraps of paper and, through an intricate system, was able to sneak them out of the house, eventually getting them into the hands of a publisher. Against the odds, Salma became the most famous Tamil poet: the first step to discovering her own freedom and challenging the traditions and code of conduct in her village.
1:00 Lunch break
2:00 pm : Nero’s Guests (56 min)
Dir: Deepa Bhatia
From farms to fashion shows, from college campuses to the countryside, a film that looks at India's growing inequality and our own complicity in its creation. Nearly 200,000 farmers have committed suicide in India over the last 10 years. But the mainstream media hardly reflects this. ‘Nero's Guests’ is a story about India's agrarian crisis and the growing inequality seen through the work of the Rural Affairs Editor of Hindu newspaper, P. Sainath. Through sustained coverage of the farm crisis, Sainath and his colleagues created the national agenda, compelling a government in denial to take notice and act. Through his writings and lectures, Sainath tries to make us see the real India, and provokes us to think who are the 'Nero's Guests' in today's world. Nero's Guests has been shot in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Nagpur and Vidarbha in Maharashtra.
3:00 : Children of Pyre (74 min)
Dir: Rajesh Jala
Children of the Pyre' is a compelling real-life, self-narrative of seven extraordinary children of Varanasi who make their living out of the dead at Manikarnika, the busiest cremation ground in India. Tempered by the heat of the pyre, strengthened in the face of adversities, crafted by the volley of abuses, watch these imps weave through the pyres and struggle through disdain to snatch their livelihoods. This film is a terrible saga of exploitation that celebrates the victory of innocence over the most harrowing realities of life.
4:15 Frames of War (41)
Dir: Kesang Tsetan
Yuddha Chitra' (Frames of War) is a stark reminder that peace has not yet come for those directly affected by Nepal’s 11-year conflict. The film brings us the voices of those whose relatives were killed or disappeared or who were disabled during the conflict. Suffering and pain reside in individuals and individual bodies, which we often forget under the collective ‘people’. The film excavates individual stories while accompanying a traveling exhibition 'A People War' that in 2007-2008 traversed the country for more than three months and was seen by more than 300,000 people. The film also reminds us that public acknowledgment of what happened is a precondition for healing.
5:00 : Killing fields of Muzzafarnagar (47 min)
Dir: Gopal Menon
The Killing Fields of Muzzaffarnagar is about 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, which is described as "the worst violence in Uttar Pradesh in recent history" resulted in at least 62 deaths, injured 93 and left more than 50,000 displaced. This film captures narratives of the survivors’ plight, anguish, sorrows and helplessness of riots victims and investigates into the ploy of the hate politics played out by the Hindu right wing organizations in Western UP to tear apart the social fabric for electoral games. The film has footage of live riots, people with guns and swords on the road, houses and shops burning and provocative speeches in the maha panchayat
Curated by Amudhan R.P.