Persistence Resistance Film Festival: Celebrating Documentaries

Published: February 2, 2012 - 17:21 Updated: July 22, 2012 - 15:20

<p><strong>"Popular understanding of documentary films is limited because it sees them as boring and pedantic"</strong></p><p><strong>Aakshi Magazine Delhi</strong></p><p><strong>"Since we started</strong> five years ago, we have seen a lot of growth. Now, a lot of young people come to watch films", explained Gargi Sen of the Magic Lantern Foundation, who has curated the forthcoming Persistence Resistance Film Festival in Delhi (9 – 17 February). Held since 2008, this is the festival's fifth year.</p><p>Along with Indrani Majumdar of the India International Centre (IIC) Delhi, Sen was addressing the press on the festival. "The popular understanding of documentary films is limited because it sees them as boring and pedantic. We showcase new and interesting work", Sen said. Some of the questions directed at her during the question and answer session made it clear what this understanding was, for instance a question asking whether "the festival had a film on corruption".</p><p>Till last year, IIC had been the festival's primary venue. However, this year the festival will be spread across four venues in Delhi, indicating the growth Sen spoke about. Apart from the IIC, films will be screened at the British Council, Max Mueller Bhawan and Delhi University. In the recent years, Delhi has seen an increase in the number of people wanting to watch varied films- both documentary and fiction. This is why at times auditoriums screening these films even run to full houses, something unheard of till a few years back.</p><p>But documentary films in India still face many hurdles. Funding of course is an issue. And once made, screening them is another. Television does not show documentaries, and neither do cinema halls because of the extra tax that is levied.</p><p>This year, the festival will screen 45 films from India and six other countries. The festival is not competition based, "We want to imagine a different kind of film festival. Does a film festival have to always be competitive?", asked Sen. The focus is on showcasing and celebrating new forms that the documentary has taken.</p><p>The films lined up sound interesting. There is Mamta Murthy's <em>Fried Fish, Chicken Soup and a Premiere Show</em>, a film on the Manipuri film industry, Pradip Saha's <em>Don't cut off my head</em> described intriguingly as "A plea from people who face reality to smart people who negotiate to manage reality" and Nitin K Pamnani's <em>I am your poet</em>, a film about the poet Vidrohi.</p><p>Among the films premiering in India are Micha X Peled's <em>Bitter Seeds</em> about genetically modified agriculture, and Kersti Uibo's <em>This is the day</em> about a personal quest for reconciliation in war torn Kosovo.</p><p>Sameera Jain's innovative <em>My own city</em> on the gendered nature of urban spaces, and RV Ramani's challenging and philosophical take on film-making <em>My camera and Tsunami</em> are also a part of the festival. Also being screened are Minnie Vaid's<em> A doctor to defend : The Binayak Sen Story</em> and Gouri Patwardhan's <em>Two tales of Modikhana</em> which explores a Dalit neighbourhood in Pune through the eyes of two artists. Graphic novelist Sarnath Banerjee's animation films will also be screened.</p><p>Filmmakers Kersti Uibo, Sameera Jain, RV Ramani, Mamta Murty and Mario Rutten among others will be present for discussions. The festival will also pay tributes to India's first woman photographer Homai Vyarawalla, Bangladeshi film maker Tariq Masood and the lesser known Lucia Rikaki. An exhibition on <em>Elusive Truth, Evolving Medium</em> : <em>Evaluating Contemporary Political Documentary</em> curated by Rattanamol Singh Johal will be showcased at the British Council. Filmmaker Sabeena Gadihoke will pay a visual tribute to Vyarawalla weaving personal photographs with anecdotal interviews of Vyarawalla shot by her over the past 14 years.</p><p>Sen's descriptions of the festival sound inviting. The whole space of the IIC will be utilised for the festival with video parlours and video libraries. The video parlours will be screening films on a loop through the day- these will be films from the former East German film studios- DEFA, and those from the archive of films produced by the Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs. The video libraries are an interesting concept, which will have all the films that are screened at the festival as well as those from the Magic Lantern archives, available on a server accessed through individual computers so that the audience can view films according to their choice.</p><p>(The Persistence Resistance Film Festival will be held from 9- 17 February at British Council, IIC, Max Mueller Bhawan and Delhi University)</p><p>Schedule here-</p>

<p>"Popular understanding of documentary films is limited because it sees them as boring and pedantic"</p><p><strong>Aakshi Magazine Delhi</strong></p>

Read more stories by Persistence Resistance Film Festival: Celebrating Documentaries