Persistence Resistance returns to the Capital, with a renewed emphasis on the practice of documentary filmmaking.
Persistence Resistance, a documentary film festival organised by the Magic Lantern Foundation (MLF), is back after taking a break last year. From its inception in 2008, the festival has sought to bring documentary films, filmmakers and audiences together, and this year’s edition takes the quest forward, albeit slightly differently.
In the six years that it has been around for, a number of other documentary film festivals have taken flight in the Capital. The frequency of individual documentary screenings has gone up too. These developments compelled Gargi Sen, curator of the film festival, and director of MLF, to rethink the role of Persistence Resistance. “We took a break to see why should we do it, and what is it that we do,” she says. “What I kept hearing back from people was that our uniqueness was we build in conversations with practitioners. Our emphasis has been on the practice, much more than the film per se.”
To strengthen the emphasis, Persistence Resistance has gone from a screening based to a conversation based approach. While earlier editions of the festival have seen upto 100 films being screened, this time there are 22. “The films are illustrative of, rather than a carrier of the programme,” whose focus this year is on collaborations, says Gargi.
The five-day festival, which takes place at three venues (Goethe Institute – Max Mueller Bhavan on February 16, India International Centre on February 17, 18, 19 and Khoj International Artists’ Association on February 20) will see a number of conversations that seek to peel the several layers at which collaborations work — between individual filmmakers, and between a filmmaker and his/her subjects and concerns.
The conversations include sessions with filmmaking couples Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar and Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam (on February 18 and 19 respectively) on the one hand, and individual filmmakers such as Sanjay Kak and Surabhi Sharma on the other. While the former will seek to illuminate the frictions and possibilities inherent in collaborative film practice, the latter will examine the endurance of certain subjects across a filmmaker’s works (the idea of Democracy, for instance, in Sanjay Kak’s films, and music and labour in Surabhi Sharma’s). Accompanying the sessions will be the screening of films, new and old, of these directors — “Saacha” and “So Heddan So Hoddan” by Anjali and Jayasankar; “When Hari Got Married” and “The Shadow Circus: CIA in Tibet” by Ritu and Tenzing; “Words on Water” and “In the Forest Hangs a Bridge” by Sanjay Kak and “Jari Mari: Of cloth and other stories” and “Bidesia in Bambai” by Surabhi Sharma, among others.
Also being screened are films that illustrate other forms of collaborations — between Pushpa Rawat and Anupama Srinivasan, for instance, in “Nirnay”, which won Pramod Pati award for most innovative film at the recent Mumbai International Film Festival; between R.V. Ramani and the reluctant subject of his film “Hindustan Hamara” — Anand Patwardhan, and between Rahul Roy and his four working class subjects, renewed after over a decade, in “Till We Meet Again”. Jabeen Merchant will enter the subject from an editor’s vantage point, and highlight the contours of an editor’s role in a film, in relation to its director. The festival will also see the launch of the book “Project Cinema City” and the performance of a play by The Tadpole Repertory — both on February 16.
Despite the changes in its format, the festival remains, in essence, a celebration of documentary cinema.
The details of the festival are available on http://www.persistence