Vibgyor International Film Festival at Thrissur, which celebrates the spirit of freedom, is back for its eighth edition.

Any film festival gathers its character and orientation through time, by working on its strengths and expanding it without losing sight of its basic vision and goals. Through the last decade Vibgyor International Film Festival at Thrissur has done exactly this. Founded on a clear political vision and commitment to the spirit of freedom, pluralism and diversity, it has always succeeded in developing packages and programmes to enrich each year’s event.

Every year, there is a special focus on some area of social concern such as gender, environment, violence, plurality, and so on.

The eighth edition of the Vibgyor festival is on till February 12 at Sangeeta Nataka Akademi, Thrissur.

The focus theme of this year’s festival is ‘Stolen Democracies’, and in tune with that, there are films dealing with emerging issues and expressions relating to democratic movements and struggles. For instance, there are films about contemporary uprisings such as the ‘Arab Spring’ and ‘Occupy’ movement. These documentaries on democratic struggle raise a host of inspiring and disturbing questions about digital democracy and virtual groupings.

Films such as Occupy Amsterdam (Netherlands/Sara Blaum), Burma VJ: Reporting From A Closed Country (Denmark/Anders Ostergaard), We Are Not Broke (United States/Karen Hayes and Victoria Bruce), Manifesto To Never Forget (Uruguay/Spain), Saving Face (Pakistan/Sharmeen Shinoy and Daniel Jung), and Immortal Daughters (India/Nakul Soni) will be screened at the festival.

Another special package of films titled ‘Uranium Festival’, featuring several short and animation films on the nuclear issue made by celebrated filmmakers such as Peter Greenway, Angela How, Norbert Suchanek and so on, also forms part of the festival.

The retrospective section features films of Kesang Tseten from Nepal and Sameera Jain from India. Tseten’s films deal with themes such as childhood, adolescence, and migration while the ‘Sameera Jain package’ includes some of the most significant documentaries made in recent times in India, which she has directed (Mera Apna Shehar and Portraits of Belonging: Sagira Begum and Bhai Mian) and edited (A Quiet Little Entry by Uma Chakravarthi and Lightning Testimonies by Amar Kanwar).

The commemoration talk in memory of the late documentary filmmaker and activist C. Saratchandran, who was also one of the guiding spirits behind Vibgyor, will be delivered by Larbi Sadiki, social scientist, and thinker from Tunisia. Other personalities who will animate the festival include Marcia Gomez, a filmmaker from Brazil who brings the ‘Uranium Film Festival’ package, Marcelo Bichara and the activist monk from Burma, Pyinnyazawta.